49ers select Malik Mustapha with the No. 124 overall pick in 2024 NFL Draft

The 49ers start the fourth round by bolstering the defensive backfield for the second time.
NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The 49ers opened Day 3 of the NFL Draft by adding yet more depth to the defensive backfield, following on from last night's pick of cornerback Renardo Green.

With their first pick in the fourth round -- otherwise known as the Trey Lance pick -- the Niners have selected safety Malik Mustapha, the 5-foot-10, 210-pound safety out of Wake Forest.

A two-year starter at Wake Forest, Mustapha earned second-team All-ACC honours in 2023, starting all 12 games while recording 80 tackles, five tackles for loss, and two pass breakups to go with one interception.

Mustapha went on to run a 4.54 40-yard time at the combine. and it's possibly for this reason that NFL.com's Lance Zierlein had profiled Mustapha as a potential fourth-round pick from the off, profiling him as a fast safety strong particularly against the run.

Despite this, and the recording of only one interception in his last college season, Zierlein also speaks highly of his playmaking ability and ball skills, making him seem like a well-rounded fit in defensive coordinator Nick Sorenson's scheme.

The 49ers certainly needed some quality young depth at safety. After initial suggestions of interest in some veteran free agents came to nothing, at present, their only signed safeties with NFL experience are Talanoa Hufanga and Ji'Ayir Brown, as Tashaun Gipson mulls retirement.

Of those, Brown will be entering his second year in the league, and Hufanga is coming off an injury.

Mustapha therefore profiles as a pretty good roster fit from the off, with the possibility to earn playing time early, either as part of sub packages, or possibly by bolstering San Francisco's troubled special teams units.

It certainly looks as though the defensive backfield continues to be a focus for the 49ers in the NFL Draft.

What did you make of the 49ers opening Day 3 pick?

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