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49ers select Purdue LB Jalen Graham with the No. 255 pick

The 49ers are creating competition for the LB3 spot

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 26 Purdue at Indiana Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 49ers selected Purdue linebacker Jalen Graham with pick No. 255. Graham, at 220 pounds, didn’t run nearly as well as the other defenders selected today at 4.65. He did play seemingly every second-level position, from each linebacker spot to the slot. The 49ers value versatility, and I imagine Graham has a shot to be a special teamer.

Here is what Sports Info Solutions had to say about Graham:

At the next level, Jalen Graham projects best as a middle-of-the-road backup Will linebacker that ideally fits best in a 4-3 system, playing to his versatility as a Sam and Will LB. He came to Purdue as a safety and then transitioned to LB, where he started 36 of 38 games for the Boilermakers. In zone coverage, his athleticism allows him to cover a large swath of ground vertically and horizontally. His man coverage skills need sharpening, as he currently handles size well but can be at a disadvantage against quicker, shiftier players. Against the run, he reads and reacts well to blocking schemes which helps him navigate the trash at the line of scrimmage and make plays in the backfield. His athleticism, and instincts make him an ideal zone coverage backer on 3rd down. He also possesses the toughness to be a contributor across multiple special teams units.

It’s evident the team is looking to create competition at the third linebacker spot. Aside from the two drafted today, the other options are Oren Burks, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Marcelina McCrary-Ball, and Curtis Robinson. The 49ers generally keep five linebackers, so let the games begin.