Can Mariano Sori-Marin find a special teams spot on 49ers roster?

Minnesota v Colorado
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The 49ers need someone to step up as the third linebacker in 2023. Mariano Sori-Marin is unlikely to be that guy right away, but he can use special teams to help get his foot in the door.

Welcome to The Undrafted Corner, where we inspect the San Francisco 49ers'undrafted free-agent class from 2023 and how they can potentially make an impact in 2023.

With the offense done and dusted, we now take a look at the relative few on the defensive side of the book.

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The Niners have pretty much their entire starting defense sorted for 2023, but one small battle is who will step up for the third linebacker role that was vacated when Azeez Al-Shaair left to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

Mariano Sori-Marin is a UDFA linebacker from Minnesota who could forge a similar career (right down to the hyphenated name) from the undrafted ranks to special teams player to potential third linebacker and spot starter.

Sori-Marin has some potential as a good tackler and run defender. He’s decently quick and ran a 4.62 40-yard time while being a good size at 6-foot-2 and 236 pounds. During his collegiate career, Sori-Marin had 88 tackles, six tackles for loss, three pass breakups and 1.5 sacks in 2022 for the Golden Gophers.

The UDFA has some attributes that could potentially see him on the field in 2023 if he impresses. His ability to play in zone coverage, attack downhill and his strong tackling can see him become a two-down linebacker in the league. He's a strong worker, and he's able to shed blocks near the line of scrimmage and attack.

What will help Sori-Marin perhaps stick on the roster in 2023 is his ability to play special teams, though. This is how Al-Shaair got onto the roster, to begin with, and it's a beginning that Sori-Martin can emulate.

Where Sori-Marin would be exploited is in the passing game. He's not good in man coverage and isn't a great athlete by any means. He can be exploited in space also whether he's isolated in receivers or in a one-on-one battle with a running back.

Luckily, the modern NFL can help hide deficiencies. Most teams play with their nickel formation on obvious passing downs anyway, so Sori-Marin won't be asked to do a lot of what he isn't comfortable with. He can play special teams and if injuries or ability dictate, he can handle what he's best at with run defense and let the extremely talented 49ers defense do the rest.

Sori-Marin will not be a household name in 2023, but he does have an intriguing skill set that could see him become a depth player and potential spot starter in the NFL.

To start, however, he has to find a way to stick on special teams if he wants to get on the field during game day.

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