The San Francisco 49ers could use more options at the safety position, and general manager John Lynch appears to have an eye on Mississippi State prospect Johnathan Abram. Lynch held his Combine press conference on Friday and was asked about Abram being on the 49ers Senior Bowl roster but unable to participate due to injury.
“I can tell you with him, and I don’t get into the practice of talking about each one of these guys, but the one thing I was impressed with is he showed up. He wasn’t cleared to play in that game, but he showed up, he stayed around and he kind of became a leader of that squad when he wasn’t even playing. That really impressed with me John. He’s a very talented football player. His film speaks volumes. I think if John keeps handling himself like he has, he’s going to do just fine.”
The team returns Adrian Colbert, Jaquiski Tartt, D.J. Reed, and Marcell Harris among other safety options, but they could make several moves to beef up the position. Richard Sherman is recruiting Earl Thomas, and they have the draft capital to grab a talented option.
Many expect the 49ers to draft an edge rusher, or maybe a defensive tackle with the No. 2 overall pick — barring a trade down. If they add pass rush help in the first round, pick No. 36 offers some options early in the second round. Abram is ranked in the top 30 of big boards, with Matt Miller ranking him No. 26 and Mel Kiper ranking him No. 24.
Miller lists Abram as the best strong safety and run stopper in the group, while Kiper liked his all-around game.
Abram flirted with my top 40 all last season, and I moved him up to my No. 1 safety in this class a few weeks ago. He stepped up during the second half of the season and was a tone-setter for the Bulldogs’ defense, finishing with 99 tackles, two interceptions and three sacks. He is extremely physical in the run game and has good hips and feet in pass coverage. Abrams was supposed to compete in the Senior Bowl, but he was held out because of an undisclosed injury. We still need to see his true speed, so I hope he’s healthy enough to run at the combine.
If the 49ers are unable to get Abram at No. 36 or don’t want to move up for him, Deionte Thompson could end up as an option. He shows up next on the big board for both analysts. Thompson had wrist surgery recently and is not participating in workouts at the Combine. Earl Thomas is a big fan of Thompson, for what that’s worth.