Every year, there are talented players that slip through the cracks of the NFL Draft. From injury concerns, to off the field troubles, highly regarded prospects are often faced with the harsh reality of not hearing their name called on the big day. But in today’s league, that is far from the end of the story. The annual “Draft after The Draft” has become a true football tradition, and a fascinating subplot of every offseason. John Lynch is hoping for the next Kurt Warner or Antonio Gates to stumble his way, but he will gladly settle for a new Philip Lindsay or Adam Thielen. Here is his 2020 class of hopeful legends…or rotation players.
Salvon Ahmed – RB (Washington)
Height: 5’11” Weight: 197
Ahmed is definitely a prospect to watch this year, and in the future, as he signed a multiyear deal with the team. The speedy back suffered a leg injury early into his senior year, but fought back to have a career high 153 yards on 17 carries against USC. After surpassing 1,000 total rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in the 2019 season, it is safe to say that his injury woes are behind him. Salvon’s 4.62 second 40 yard dash at the combine surely played a role in his draft slide, but it may not affect him on the field.
Chris “The Slippery Fox” Finke – WR (Notre Dame)
Height: 5’9” Weight: 186
Iconic nickname aside, Chris Finke can ball. He’s a shifty and elusive receiver that can make plays from multiple spots on the field. The 49ers seem to agree, and they have secured his talents with $95,000 in guaranteed money, $15,000 of that coming via signing bonus. He doesn’t have the flashiest collegiate numbers, just 1027 yards and 6 TDs over his final two seasons at Notre Dame. He does, however, have a similar skill set and frame to Trent Taylor. Given Taylor’s injury history over the past two seasons, a carbon copy might not be such a bad thing.
Josh Hokit – FB(Fresno State)
Height: 6’1” Weight: 225
Hokit, a powerful prospect from Clovis High, is one of many athletes who did not focus on one sport growing up. Luckily for the 49ers, his other favorite sport might make him even better at being a fullback. Josh was a highly touted wrestler who ranked No.3 in the nation during his Senior year of high school. This season, he even qualified for the NCAA wrestling championship, which was unfortunately cancelled. Everyone knows fullback is no easy task, and multi-faceted utility players that can thrive on special teams are under appreciated gems. Lynch may have found someone up for the task.
Darrion Daniels – DL (Nebraska)
Height: 6’4” Weight: 340
The impending free agency of Chris Jones in 2021 does a lot to justify this signing. The 49ers want to keep the dynamic DT, but if his price tag becomes dangerously high, it would be a relief to know that Daniels can step in. This potential peace of mind was met with a whopping $105,000 in guaranteed money, $25,000 via signing bonus. (Per Aaron Wilson). Daniel’s was named a captain on Nebraska’s team last season, and he is highly regarded among his teammates. John and the front office are hoping he can bring that leadership with him to the next level.
Jonas Griffith – LB (Indiana State)
Height: 6’3” Weight: 247
This Louisville, Kentucky product is trying to be just the second current ISU player in the NFL, along with Robert Tongan of the Green Bay Packers. Griffith played Defensive End and Outside Linebacker in college, tallying reps in both the 4-3 and the 3-4. This is a huge plus given the hybrid nature of the Niners defense, and he just might be the perfect understudy for Fred Warner.
Chase Harrell – TE (Arkansas)
Height: 6’4” Weight: 249
Chase is a big, athletic tight end with very little experience at the position. Sound familiar? Kyle Shanahan might be having visions of a new George Kittle, who had only 48 receptions in college before going complete cheat code mode in the league. Harrell had 32 receptions, 315 yards and 4 TDs over the duration of his college career with the Jayhawks and Razorbacks.
Jared Mayden – S (Alabama)
Height: 6’0” Weight: 205
Mayden is without a doubt one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s class. After landing in Daniel Jeremiah’s top 150 draft board, he ended up as the second highest rated player on that board to not get drafted, trailing only Grayland Arnold for the Eagles. Jared had a very productive career at Alabama, tallying 4 INTs in his senior season alone. His versatility will be beneficial for a Niners roster that does not have many openings at Safety, but could definitely use general help in the defensive backfield.
Broc Rutter QB – (North Central)
Height: 6’2” Weight: 204
Last season, only 8 DIII players made an active roster. It appears that Rutter may get his shot as one of those select few this year. Broc absolutely dominated in 2019, adding a DIII championship, the career DIII passing yards record, and the Gogliardi trophy to his growing list of achievements. Rutter was not highly recruited out of high school and does not have any eye popping physical traits. His agent, Jayme Moten, said getting him to this point was no easy task. “We had to do a lot of work to get Broc opportunities to get evaluated. Once he got that, there were a few teams interested in him.” It is his high football IQ and ridiculous number of QB reps that have made him such a tantalizing prospect for Shanahan. Nick Mullens anyone?
Jamycal Hasty – RB (Baylor)
Height: 5’8” Weight: 205
Hasty’s 5.2 career yards per carry was enough to land him a coveted contract, garnering $90,000 in guaranteed money, with $15,000 coming via signing bonus. Kyle Shanahan is always looking for shiny new third down backs that he can shuffle into the rotation. John Lynch also traded away one of those rotation pieces on day 3 of the draft, when he shipped Matt Breida to the Miami Dolphins. It appears Jamycal has one of the most realistic pathways to joining the active 53 man roster this fall.
Ronnell Perkins – S (Missouri)
Height: 6’0” Weight: 205
With 105 tackles, 7.5 for loss, two INTs, a TD, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery, Ronnell Perkins did a little bit of everything over his career with Missouri. He showed great promise during his Freshman season, but the versatile safety tore his hamstring in his Sophomore campaign. After a long rehab process, he balanced between Safety and Outside Linebacker in his Junior year, and struggled to make a real impact at either position. Time will tell if he can fully bounce back with this new opportunity.
Demarkus Acy – DB (Missouri)
Height: 6’2” Weight: 195
On October 26, 2019, Missouri came tortuously close to defeating the 12th ranked Kentucky Wildcats. So close, that the clock actually hit 0:00 while they still had the lead. But then something horrible happened. Something that happens far too often in college football. Demarkus Acy was called for a HIGHLY questionable pass interference that gave the Wildcats one more chance to score, from the one yard line, with no time on the clock. Kentucky went on to win that game, and Acy went on to pose in the picture above. The moral of this story, is that Demarkus could have crumbled in this moment. He could have decided that a future in football just wasn’t in the cards for him, but he didn’t. Instead, he doubled down on his work ethic and leadership qualities that got him to this point. Teammates went on record calling him “an extension of the defensive coordinator”, and it appears he is just getting started.