Photo Credit: Chris Mezzavilla
It’s not often that you get something in return for an undrafted free agent, but the 49ers have done just that. Linebacker Jonas Griffith, a hulking player listed at 6-foot-4-inches and 250 pounds, was signed by the 49ers in 2020 out of Indiana State, but cut due to roster limitations. He was brought back this season, and excelled in camp.
Griffith lost roughly 15 pounds over the last year, and the 49ers did something fairly surprising for a recent, undrafted free agent, by repping him at middle linebacker over Dre Greenlaw in the team’s first preseason game. They got Griffith myriad reps at that spot, and he showed off tremendous range at the position. He said that now-defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans “stood on the table for me” in 2020 before he was cut, and helped bring him back this season.
It seems there was a clear end to that goal, as former 49ers defensive coordinator and Broncos head coach, Vic Fangio, may have seen something he liked. According to Tom Pelissero, the 49ers amended their own pick this year and stashed another Day 3 pick in 2023.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 31, 2021
The 49ers will improve their 2022 pick from a seventh to the Broncos’ sixth, and add a 2023 seventh-round pick. This trade also indicated that the 49ers may opt to keep five linebackers and feel comfortable with the likes of Marcell Harris and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles. There are also two potential practice squad candidates in fellow undrafted free agents Justin Hilliard – who impressed this preseason – and Elijah Sullivan.