Prospect Profiles: Linebackers Linked to the 49ers

Take a look at some of the names being associated with the San Francisco 49ers in various mock drafts.

So far, we've addressed safety, cornerback and the offensive line as positions analysts predict the San Francisco 49ers could target with the 31st pick in the draft. Linebacker is the next position group that draft analysts believe the 49ers could target to bolster its defense in 2020.

Before getting up in arms about the idea of drafting a linebacker, these are the opinions of NFL pundits whose first-round decisions may vary from week-to-week depending on prior teams' picks, the 49ers needs, the state of free agency, among other factors.

San Francisco's linebacking core appears set following the 2019 season. Kwon Alexander, Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw were all significant contributors last season who played key roles in San Francisco's eight-ranked scoring defense in 2019.

Alexander, whose intangibles are invaluable in itself, appeared in eight games and recorded four passes defended, an interception and a forced fumble before being placed on Injured Reserve in Week 9 with a torn pectoral. Known as the "heartbeat" of San Francisco's defense, Alexander made a timely return ahead of the 49ers playoff run, making his way back to the lineup ahead of the Divisional Round matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.

Greenlaw stepped up in Alexander's absence and appeared in 16 games with 11 starts his rookie season. Greenlaw was second on the team with 92 total tackles to go along with two passes defended, two quarterback hits a sack and an interception. His most notable play came in Week 17 with a game-changing stop at the goal line against the Seattle Seahawks that sealed a first-round Bye in the playoffs and an NFC West Championship.

Warner is coming off of a breakout season in 2019, where the second-year linebacker took on a leadership role among San Francisco's defense. Warner led the team with 118 total tackles in addition to nine passes defended, five quarterback hits, three sacks, three forced fumbles and a pick-six in 16 starts.

In addition to the aforementioned linebackers, undrafted rookie Azeez Al-Shaair is another name who contributed to the defense's success in Alexander's absence.

Although linebacker doesn't appear to be one of the 49ers more pressing needs heading into the 2020 season, the 49ers could provide depth at the position through the draft.

Here's a look at which linebacker prospects draft analysts have pinned to San Francisco with pick No. 31.

Prospect Profiles: | Safety | Cornerback | Offensive Line | Wide Receiver |

Zack Baun, Wisconsin

LB_Zack_Baun

2019 Stats: Baun finished the year with 76 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and an interception that earned him second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2019.

What the experts are saying: "Ascending prospect whose explosive production on the field has begun to mirror his explosive athletic traits. Baun's twitchy get-off and deep bend at the edge is nightmare fuel for Big Ten tackles and he's still at the early stages of pass rush development. He is aggressive to flow downhill in run support, has sideline-to-sideline range and is fluid dropping into coverage." - NFL analyst Lance Zierlein

How he fits with the 49ers: "I know the 49ers have plenty of talent all over their defensive front seven, but I don't think that will stop them from improving a strength of the team from last year to give them depth and options moving forward." - Will Brinson, CBS Sports

Combine Results:

Table inside Article
40-yard Dash Bench Press Vertical Jump Broad Jump 3-cone Drill 20-yard Shuttle
Zack Baun 4.65 24 32.5 115.0 7.0 4.31

Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

CB_Kenneth_Murray

2019 Stats: Murray registered 102 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, four sacks, four pass breakups and a forced fumble in 14 starts. He earned third-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-Big 12 honors in 2019.

What the experts are saying: "Sleek, playmaking linebacker with chiseled frame and long arms. Murray's game is predicated on speed with an ability to fly around from sideline to sideline rolling up tackles." - Zierlein

How he fits with the 49ers: "Kenneth Murray and Kwon Alexander would be the Bash Brothers™ of the NFL. I'm talking about moving into the same apartment together, having bunk beds, wearing matching bandanas, the whole nine yards." - Trevor Sikkema, The Draft Network

Combine Results:

Table inside Article
40-yard Dash Bench Press Vertical Jump Broad Jump 3-cone Drill 20-yard Shuttle
Kenneth Murray 4.52 21 38.0 129.0 -- --

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