As training camp approaches, we are continually taking a look at players up and down the 90 man roster. There has been a wealth of talent added to the defensive side of the ball - specifically on the defensive line and, partially, at linebacker - but is there any room left for undrafted free agents to make the squad come week 1? Only time will tell! For now, though, let us take a quick look at one of San Francisco’s UDFAs: linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair out of Florida Atlantic.
At a Glance
College: Florida Atlantic Position: Linebacker. Height: 6’2” Weight: 234 lbs Career statistics (college): 395 total tackles, 31 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, one interception
Strengths and Weaknesses
Azeez Al-Shaair had a knack for being around the ball carrier, and it showed as he was a tackling fiend in 2016 and 2017 - he amassed a combined 258 total tackles over those two seasons. Over that time, Al-Shaair also had 21 tackles for loss (4.5 sacks), so he has a keen sense of getting into the backfield and disrupting plays on a fairly consistent basis. One major knock on Azeez Al-Shaair is that he isn’t super reliable in pass coverage - that couple with the fact that he suffered a knee injury that knocked him out of the 2018 season would be reasons why he went undrafted.
Odds of Making the Team
The 49ers inked Kwon Alexander to a pretty lucrative deal during the offseason and, while he’s young, he is still coming off an injury that shouldn’t preclude the team from still providing depth behind him at linebacker. Fred Warner is flourishing into an impressive player. Malcolm Smith has not lived up to his contract at all. Other than that, the linebacking corps contains names like Elijah Lee, rookie Dre Greenlaw (who could challenge as a starter), and Mark Nzeocha. If anything I could see Al-Shaair making the team as a depth piece at LB while getting regular reps on the special teams squad. As long as he can stay healthy, he should be able to, at least, be a nice depth piece for a defense that is on the rise.