49ers ink a defensive back hand-picked by Steve Wilks

Myles Hartsfield #38 of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Myles Hartsfield #38 of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The 49ers are signing a former Panthers defensive back, Myles Hartsfield, who has ties to the Niners’ new defensive coordinator, Steve Wilks.

First-year San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks wants to have a say in the team’s actions in NFL free agency, too.

By the looks of it, he’s getting a voice.

The Niners only added four external free agents in the opening wave of free agency, but the second and third waves can be where hidden gems and bargains are found.

While it’s anyone’s guess whether or not San Francisco’s newest face, defensive back Myles Hartsfield, will be one of those gems or bargains, it is possible to understand why the 49ers targeted the 25-year-old former undrafted free agent out of Mississippi.

Wilks likely wanted him, reminiscing on their days together with the Carolina Panthers.

Steve Wilks convinces 49ers to sign former Panthers DB Myles Hartsfield

OK, so we don’t have a true report that states Wilks was in general manager John Lynch’s ear asking him to sign Hartsfield.

However, it’s impossible to not draw the connection. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo did when he broke the news over the weekend:

It’s a one-year deal for Hartsfield, who started 10 games for Carolina last season and registered 59 tackles two passes broken up and a forced fumble.

Hartsfield had also been a reliable special teams contributor over the last three years, too, so that’ll help carry weight for a 49ers defense that not only lost starting safety Jimmie Ward to free agency but a backup in Tarvarius Moore, too.

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While the Niners already signed former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver to replace Ward at nickel back, the 5-foot-11 and 210-pound Hartsfield can back up that spot as well.

Wilks, a former defensive backs coach with the Panthers before serving as their interim head coach last season, worked closely with Hartsfield and certainly wouldn’t mind pinning him in a Ward-like role, someone capable of playing at multiple spots within the secondary.

San Francisco’s defense might not open up a spot for Hartsfield to start this season, but his versatility and flexibility will surely be appreciated.

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