2023 NFL Draft: Who could 49ers target on defense, special teams?
49ers target: Dorian Williams, Linebacker, Tulane
Draft range: 5th-7th round
Linebacker is not high on the priority list, given the Niners have two stud linebackers already in Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner. They, like most NFL teams in the modern era, play a lot in the nickel package, so a third linebacker isn’t a true starter.
That being said, Azeez Al-Shaair has moved on. While it’s sad to see Al-Shaair go, it wouldn’t be a surprise if San Francisco spent a pick on Day 3 to find someone as depth and a potential starter as a third linebacker.
Dorian Williams was a productive player for the Tulane Green Wave, who can fill in on special teams also.
The size is there (6-foot-1, 220 pounds), and Williams is a decent if unspectacular athlete, but there’s sometimes a bit of a problem with his film when it comes to shedding blocks or diagnosing plays despite his collegiate experience.
There is some upside, though. Williams showed some knack as a pass-rusher with five sacks for the Green Wave and nabbed two interceptions and two forced fumbles, which shows he can force turnovers.
Williams is unlikely to evolve into a great starter, but the tools to work are there if he’s in a good defensive system like San Francisco’s.
If he doesn’t work out, spending a pick on Day 3 isn’t the end of the world.