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2017 NFL draft results: 49ers pick Utah linebacker Pita Taumoepenu

The 49ers added potential help at edge rusher.

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The San Francisco 49ers made their second sixth round pick of the 2017 NFL draft, selecting Utah linebacker Pita Taumoepenu. The 49ers have one more pick, at No. 229 in the seventh round.

Taumoepenu stands 6’1 243 pounds, and emerged as a pass rush specialist in 2016. After four sacks in four games as a junior, he had nine sacks in 12 games as a senior. He is the first pure pass rushing option the 49ers have added. He could compete for the Leo role if he puts on some weight, but suggested if he doesn’t add weight, he would be suited for the weak-side linebacker role. Considering the 49ers drafted Reuben Foster to potentially play some WILL eventually, I imagine they’ll try and turn Taumoepenu into more of a pass rusher. Pass rush specialist with limited exposure to the game who has posted consistent sack and pressure production throughout his career thanks to his athleticism and motor. He's undersized and lacks the strength to factor in as an every-down 3-4 OLB option, but he does have a chance to become a backup rush linebacker and might even warrant consideration as a 4-3 WILL who can step into a special teams role quickly.

PFF before last season: Last year we touted Alabama’s Tim Williams as a highly-efficient edge rusher who was ready to break out and this season it’s Taumoepenu. Over the last two seasons, he’s played only 335 snaps but he’s still notched 12 sacks, eight QB hits and 22 hurries on only 229 rushes. It’s not as simple as merely extrapolating that production over a full season, but even a manageable 500-snap workload could lead to gaudy pass rush production from Taumoepenu. Utah is very deep along the defensive line, but expect Taumoepenu to be one of their most efficient pass rushers once again.

1. First round: Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford
2. First round: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
3. Third round: Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado
4. Third round: C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa
5. Fourth round: Joe Williams, RB, Utah
6. Fifth round: George Kittle, TE, Iowa
7. Fifth round: Trent Taylor, WR, Louisiana Tech
8. Sixth round: D.J. Jones, DT, Ole Miss
9. Sixth round: Pita Taumoepenu, LB, Utah
10. Seventh round: New Orleans Saints - No. 1 (229 overall)