49ers NFL Draft sleeper target No. 5: EDGE Nick Hampton, Appalachian State
The Niners desperately need an outside pass-rusher they can pair with All-Pro EDGE Nick Bosa this season. And while there’s hope that castoff defensive linemen like Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell can resurrect their careers with San Francisco, going after an up-and-coming talent instead of retreads might be the better option.
And that’s where Nick Hampton of Appalachian State comes into play.
Hampton, 6-foot-2 and 236 pounds, looks more like a strong-side linebacker than a true edge rusher. But he can win with speed and above-average technique instead of having to rely on brute strength from the get-go.
For many a rookie pass-rusher, it’s the opposite.
Hampton might be too undersized to convince teams to use anything but a Round 4 pick on him at the soonest. But, if he adds some muscle and hits the weight room, Hampton could be a sleeper pickup with a solid long-term impact.