This 49ers NFL Draft steal is going to make a massive impact right away

The 49ers got a steal in the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft, and he will help the team right away.
NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The San Francisco 49ers selected safety Malik Mustapha in the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft with the 124th overall pick.

After an impressive career at Wake Forest, Mustapha is a player who will have an immediate impact with the team.

Malik Mustapha is going to make a big impact right away

In his three seasons at Wake Forest, Mustapha racked up 175 combined tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and three interceptions. As our own Peter Panacy wrote, "At 5-foot-10 and 209 pounds, Mustapha is slightly undersized but makes up for it with a strong motor and willingness to jump down in run support."

We know that the 49ers' run defense struggled late last season, so adding a guy into the mix who can assist in stopping the run could be huge.

Plus, the projected starters at safety next season are two guys who have a lot of promise, but there is also a good deal of uncertainty. Talanoa Hufanga has been phenomenal for the Niners in his first two seasons. However, coming off of an ACL tear, it is unclear how he will bounce back from the injury. If it seems like he has lost a step or still needs more time to fully recover, having Mustapha could be a huge insurance policy.

The other projected starter, second- year defensive back Ji'Ayir Brown, stepped in and played very well for the Niners last year in Hufanga's absence. He even had a big interception in the Super Bowl. While one hopes that Brown will improve upon his solid rookie campaign, there is always the fear of a sophomore slump, so having Mustapha as a guy who could fill in for Brown as well is a big deal.

Mustapha has described himself as a, "ballplayer that plays with a lot of fire." General manager John Lynch has said that he embodies the 49ers ethos of running to the football and making a play, something that came into question after the NFC Championship game last season.

At times last season, the Niners were forced to rely on veterans Tashaun Gipson and Logan Ryan at the safety position. In 2024, they figure to rely on three young players instead. This could reinvigorate the defense and help the Niners play with more passion and tenacity on that side of the ball.

Lynch was a pretty good safety in his own right, and it seems like he has selected a safety who figures to have an immediate impact with San Francisco in 2024.

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