Nick Zakelj spent five years at Fordham becoming one of the best offensive tackles in the Patriot Conference. That path isn’t likely to continue in the NFL after the 49ers picked him 187th overall in this year’s draft. Zakelj told reporters in a press conference after he was selected that he anticipates a move inside as a pro.

“While I did play tackle in college and I’m most comfortable at it, getting those reps at guard at the Senior Bowl broadened my horizon,” he said via Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. “I’m open to being more of a guard at the next level.”

This has become a habit for the 49ers in the draft. Colton McKivitz in 2020 and Jaylon Moore in 2021 were both 49ers picks that played tackle in college, but were taken with the goal of moving them to the interior. This year’s fourth-round pick Spencer Burford also primarily played tackle in college and figures to kick inside as a pro.

Perhaps Zakelj acquits himself well on the outside and sticks at his natural position, but the 49ers need help inside. There are two starting guard jobs open and if Zakelj can make that move with his size and athleticism it’s easy to see how he’d succesfully work his way into the new position.

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