Spencer Waege can carve out a backup role if he impresses 49ers this preseason

North Dakota v North Dakota State
North Dakota v North Dakota State / Sean Arbaut/GettyImages

The 49ers are always looking for defensive line depth, and former North Dakota State EDGE Spencer Waege could very easily get onto the roster as a role player.

Welcome to The Undrafted Corner, where we take a look at the San Francisco 49ers'undrafted free-agent class from 2023 and how they can get onto the roster for 2023. With the offense finally covered, we now take a look at the defensive side of the ball.

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The Niners defense is predicated on the ability of the defensive line to maintain consistent pressure to allow the other seven defenders to move back in coverage, so it was a little surprising to see the team dedicate only one pick to the position (although in fairness, they did also spend big in free agency to bring in defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to give the side another heavy hitter).

Perhaps mindful of this, the team brought in Spencer Waege from North Dakota State to also provide some competition as the team looks to bring in some more depth pieces after several backups and spot starters signed elsewhere in free agency.

And as far as Waege is concerned, his interesting testing numbers have showcased some potential that could very well be unlocked on a team that has amazing talent around him at every level.

Waege had 17.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks for North Dakota State in 2022 and already showed dedication to the pros by electing to bulk up for the NFL up to 295 pounds. He's looked like he's retained the athleticism after signing with San Francisco, so the real question is if he has a true spot across the line or if he's merely a tweener at his current size.

While Waege has no shot of being a starter in 2023, there's a spot on the roster as a situational pass-rushing specialist if he shows consistency in his pass-rushing abilities and an ability to challenge NFL-caliber opposition. The 49ers are happy to keep extra linemen on the roster if they feel that's best for the team, so he could easily sneak on with a good performance given there aren't many seasoned veteran backups outside of Kerry Hyder on the roster who can be reasonably guaranteed a spot.

Waege will be an intriguing player to watch during training camp and the preseason games. If he can showcase his potential, at the very least he should have a spot waiting for him on the practice squad.

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