49ers roster 2023: What role does Jack Colletto even serve?

San Francisco 49ers fullback Jack Colletto
San Francisco 49ers fullback Jack Colletto / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The 49ers added a fullback, Jack Colletto, after the 2023 NFL Draft. But with Kyle Juszczyk around, what will Colletto even do?

The San Francisco 49ers found themselves with quite a unique player in the hours following the 2023 NFL Draft.

Former Oregon State fullback Jack Colletto is technically, well... a fullback because that's what he's listed as. However, if you were to hype up a player who could effectively do almost anything (and on both sides of the ball), Colletto would be it.

He even spent time as a quarterback early in his collegiate career before transitioning to a periodic linebacker while also serving as a fullback.

Over his five seasons with the Beavers, Colletto notched 50 tackles and an interception, threw three interceptions instead of throwing a touchdown, had a receiving touchdown on four catches and also rushed 111 times and managed 22 more touchdowns on the ground.

Perhaps that's his calling card at the NFL level.

And that's where he'll be, at least for now, as the Niners signed him as an undrafted free agent following the 2023 draft.

Jack Colletto scouting report

Colletto is an intriguing player in a number of ways. At 6-foot-3 and 237 pounds, he ran a 4.85 40-yard time at his pro day and had 17 bench reps of 225 pounds.

In a classic "Swiss Army Knife" moniker, Colletto's NFL.com scouting report by Lance Zierlein highlighted his "willing to do whatever" attitude:

"Tenacious prospect willing to offer up whatever he can in order to find the field and help his team win. Colletto lacks ideal size and power to be a lead blocker and doesn’t have the length or burst teams look for at inside linebacker, but he can line up at either spot and perform at an adequate rate if needed. His demeanor and toughness make sense for special teams and he’s multifaceted for direct snaps and short-yardage packages as a quarterback. Colletto might not be drafted, but he will have a chance to compete for a spot in camp."

One of the primary problems with players who can do a little bit of everything is that they rarely excel at anything.

It's the classing "jack of all trades, master of none" argument. In college, gadget-type players can hold a lot of value. However, at the NFL level where everyone is the best of the best in the sport, gadget players need to be excellent at something, even if it's just one thing.

Colletto doesn't exactly have any one particular area in which he's awfully good.

Why did the 49ers sign Jack Colletto if they already have Kyle Juszczyk?

If playing fullback is Colletto's best shot at making San Francisco's 53-man roster, it's a bit silly of an addition.

The 49ers already have the best fullback in football, perennial Pro Bowler Kyle Juszczyk, who is signed through 2025 and isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Teams don't keep two fullbacks on an active roster either, meaning Colletto would have to cut it as a multifaceted talent worth taking up a roster spot over someone who is far more specialized.

Read more: Is Jack Colletto the 49ers' future at fullback?

That said, the Niners might enjoy having an extra fullback for training camp and preseason games so that Juszczyk, so vital to head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense, isn't exposed to further injury risks unnecessarily. San Francisco has done that before with undrafted fullbacks in the Shanahan era, and it might just be Colletto's turn.

Gadget players have made a dent on rosters before, however. Perhaps the best one who comes to mind is the New Orleans Saints' Taysom Hill, who is technically a quarterback but is often featured as a rusher in wildcat formations.

Whether or not Shanahan is looking for his own Hill-like version is anyone's guess, but that might be Colletto's best path to hanging around the 49ers roster and not just being a preseason anomaly.

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