Searching for Gold: Why Israel Mukuamu Should be Drafted by 49ers in Round 4
Image Credit: Associated Press
With the lack of first round picks over the next couple years it is important for the front office to hit on their later picks. Though the later rounds are mostly for feeling out your depth and drafting project players, you can find starting-caliber players in the fourth round.
One area where the 49ers have struggled over the past couple years, due to injuries and poor play, has been the cornerback position. When Richard Sherman was on the field he was still playing at a high level and most quarterbacks would not even throw his way. However, Sherman was plagued with a few injuries while he was with the Niners that kept him off the field. The Niners also fell short on some big plays when they needed a stop; the third-and-15 in the Super Bowl comes to mind. In fact, it haunts my dreams like Freddy haunts sex-fueled teenagers on Elm Street.
Nevertheless, the 49ers need to find players who they can rely on when their number is called, so with the 117th pick in the 2021 draft I present to you: Israel Mukuamu, a cornerback from the University of South Carolina. Mukuamu started for the Gamecocks as a true freshman in 2018, and in 13 games he recorded 17 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one interception, and a fumble. On October 12, 2019,during South Carolina’s 20-17 upset win over the Georgia Bulldogs, Mukuamu recorded 11 tackles and three interceptions.
He’s 6’4” and 212 pounds with 34-inch arms that allow him to not only play on the outside with the big wide receivers, but also allows him the size to take on opposing tight ends. He has been described as a skyscraper on the field. His big frame and arm span allow him to snag balls right out of the air for interceptions.
One area where he has struggled is in press coverage.If he gets beat, he only has modest recovery and leggy transitions. He was also grabby from time to time when beat on a release. Also, because of his big frame, Mukuamu is a guy who plays better on press coverage and not giving the wide receiver a huge cushion.
Israel Mukuamu has room for growth and may not be a Week 1 starter, but with some help from some veterans to help fine tune his skills and because of his stature he could become a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. The 49ers’ front office should definitely look at this guy in the fourth round.
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