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49ers sign DB Derrick Kindred to reserve/futures contract

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Kindred is an intriguing player that has the skill set you look for in a safety

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Jets Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers have signed former Cleveland Brown defensive back Derrick Kindred to a futures contract for the 2020 season. Kindred was a fourth-round pick in 2016. He started 17 games in three seasons. During the 2019 preseason, Kindred spent time with the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Jets before being released to start the season. Kindred has the versatility you look for in a safety. He’s 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, which is bigger than he looks. His size allows him to play in the box, and his length and quickness are good enough for Kindred to play in the slot. He played more snaps at free safety this past preseason more than any other position.

I worked on a project for defensive backs at Bleacher Report for a couple of years. In 2017, when Kindred played 829 snaps for the Browns, he was intriguing. For Cleveland, Kindred played all over the place. He played 233 snaps on the defensive line, where Kindred was more of a SAM linebacker (because Cleveland), 229 snaps at free safety, 96 snaps at slot corner, and 113 snaps in the box. Yeah, I’d he can play anywhere. Here was my blurb for Kindred:

33. Derrick Kindred, Cleveland Browns

Coverage: 16/25

Recovery: 14/20

Slot Performance: 14/20

Tackling: 15/25

Position Value: 8/10

Overall Grade: 67/100

Kindred is an athlete. At times, he was out of control, but he more than held his own around the line of scrimmage. Kindred was good against screens, as his athleticism was on full display. He took away routes before they were thrown as well. On the other hand, he was prone to giving up big plays. That—and the fact he missed a tackle 21 percent of the time he had a chance—knocked his grade down.

The 49ers would be better suited to keep Kindred near the line of scrimmage and allow him to use his athleticism to make plays. The further away Kindred got from the line of scrimmage, the less confident he seemed. He needs to be refined, but Kindred has the skill set you look for in a safety. Getting him around a secondary with the football intelligence that San Francisco has could go a long way in helping Kindred reach his ceiling.

Kindred is the second player this week that the 49ers signed to a futures contract. The team also signed edge rusher Jonathan Kongbo, who played in the CFL during the 2019 regular season. These reserve/future contracts are common and away for a team to get a head start on a player they’re interested in. His contract won’t go into effect until the start of the new league year in March.