ESPN names 2 potential free agent scheme fits for the 49ers
By Insidethe49|Published On: November 16th, 2023 at 2:13 PM|
The 49ers could use help at guard, and ESPN identified one of the best players at his position as a fit.
A lot has been made about whether the 49ers will re-sign Chase Young this offseason. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Matt Bowen went through the top-25 potential free agents to provide insight on what their market could be and who they may sign with.
Young was No. 8 on the list. He’ll be 25-years-old entering the 2024 season. Here’s Fowler’s blurb on the 49ers edge rusher:
What we’re hearing: He might be the biggest enigma in the free agency class. Young has shown the ability to be a top-10 pass-rusher in the NFL, but teams are also eager to see him complete a full, healthy season. Jacksonville is a team that will need a pass-rusher if they lose Josh Allen, but re-signing with San Francisco feels like an option, too. — Fowler
Young isn’t going to have a sack in every game for the Niners. But if he stays healthy and remains productive, it’ll be difficult for the 49ers to retain him considering Young’s age and the position he plays.
There were two names, both at positions of need, that Fowler hinted as scheme fits for San Francisco. One is Dolphins guard Robert Hunt, who is No. 10 on the list:
Why he could get paid: At 6-foot-6 and 322 pounds, Hunt has the movement ability to mirror and win in pass pro, where he has registered a pass block win rate of 89.8% this season. He’s a fit for multiple run schemes, too, as Hunt can reach and climb as a zone blocker or displace defenders on gap concepts. — Bowen
What we’re hearing: Hunt’s name has been buzzing in league circles dating back to Week 3. He has upped his play in Mike McDaniel’s system, emerging as one of the top guards in free agency. McDaniel’s style of offense suits him, using his mobility to block downfield in the running game. To that point, the 49ers could use guard help. — Fowler
Hunt is 6-foot-6 and 335 pounds. He was the No. 39 overall pick in 2020. He’s also started all 17 games in each of the past two seasons, and started 11 as a rookie.
I like to reference Sports Info Solutions blown block percentage, as it gives us an objective number of how a player performs. Hunt has the fourth-lowest blown block percentage among all offensive lineman in the NFL this season.
The other free agent was cornerback Kendall Fuller from the Commanders, who turns 29 entering next season:
Why he could get paid: A veteran with savvy coverage technique and transition speed out of his pedal, Fuller has two interceptions this season, giving him a total of 16 in his career. He’d be a smart fit for a Quarters-based system. And Fuller can set an edge against the run game, too, with 52 tackles in 2023. I see a player who can boost the profile of a secondary for a contending team. — Bowen
What we’re hearing: While Tennessee’s Sean Murphy-Bunting has had a resurgent season in Tennessee, and Cincinnati’s Chidobe Awuzie is a proven commodity as he rounds into form off a torn ACL, Fuller is perhaps a safer play among free agent corners. He has been solid for Washington, can play multiple spots and turns 29 in February. San Francisco and Buffalo would be schematic fits. — Fowler
Fuller could be the 49ers answers to their nickel questions, and provide much-needed experience there. He’s given up as many touchdowns (4) this season than he did last year on half the targets, but there’s no denying that Fuller is a quality player who could help the Niners out in the secondary.