49ers roster 2023: Ilm Manning has an intriguing UDFA pedigree

Undrafted free agents always have a tough road to a 53-man roster, and that'll be no different for the 49ers' Ilm Manning.
SoFi Hawai'i Bowl - Hawaii v BYU
SoFi Hawai'i Bowl - Hawaii v BYU / Darryl Oumi/GettyImages

Ilm Manning was one of the more experienced linemen entering the 2023 NFL Draft, who ultimately signed with the 49ers after not hearing his name called on draft day.

The San Francisco 49ers didn't select an offensive lineman in the 2023 NFL Draft despite it being an apparent need.

They did, however, grab some undrafted names following the draft, including Shepherd's Joey Fisher and Hawaii's Ilm Manning.

Manning is intriguing for a number of reasons. For starters, he was one of the draft's most experienced offensive linemen, having started 60 games over the course of his five-year collegiate tenure, most of them at left tackle.

At 6-foot-2 and 294 pounds, though, he'll likely transition inside to guard or center. Yet that's where the Niners have some depth needs and concerns.

What kind of prospect do the 49ers have in Ilm Manning?

San Francisco has a number of veteran linemen in the mix for the back end of the depth chart, including second-year pros Jason Poe and Nick Zakelj, as well as Jaylon Moore, too. Fisher is also in the mix, but the nature of effective linemen can be awfully fluid.

At worst, Manning rounds out the training camp depth chart. As Pro Football Network draft analyst Tony Pauline noted, Manning isn't a zone-blocking lineman. And while head coach Kyle Shanahan has strayed away from zone for some time now, it's still the basic foundation of his system.

Pauline did point out some positive attributes, though:

"Manning was productive and durable the past five years at Hawaii, but he comes with average size and athleticism. He’s an intelligent prospect who should seamlessly transition to the interior offensive line. However, Manning must do a much better job blocking with leverage to have any shot of sticking on an NFL roster."

What Ilm Manning has to do to make 49ers' 53-man roster

Manning likely has to beat out Fisher, Poe and possibly even Zakelj to stand a chance.

One of the ways he can do so is by using his leverage to his advantage, particularly against stronger pass-rushers who have the ability to knock Manning off his feet, which is something Niner Noise's own draft expert, Jeremy Wohlfart, pointed out in Manning's edition of the Undrafted Corner on San Francisco's UDFAs.

It's probably a long shot for Manning to translate all of this into being a year-one starter. However, there's likely a place for him on the practice squad if he's able to refine his technique.

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