The 49ers just might have found themselves an undrafted gem.
Former Alabama safety Jared Mayden signed with San Francisco on Saturday, reportedly amid interest from a handful of teams. If the 49ers and their competitors rated Mayden as highly as NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah, it'd be easy to see why.
Jeremiah rated Mayden as the 114th-best player in the 2020 NFL Draft class, which was the second-highest ranking among undrafted free agents.
144 of my top 150 players were drafted. Here’s a list of the 6 players that weren’t selected: pic.twitter.com/u9r5Pxl80W— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 29, 2020
Mayden played multiple positions in the secondary for the Crimson Tide, leading the team with four interceptions in 2019 while starting at strong safety. He allowed 17 receptions (on 30 targets) for just 152 yards and a 41.9 passer rating last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
The 21-year-old told the Montgomery Advertiser ahead of the draft that he expected to be selected, as "every team I've talked to told me I'll be drafted."
"Now the draft is unpredictable, so if I was to be a free agent, I’m pretty sure every team would want me to be a priority free agent,” Mayden continued.
Mayden wasn't invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, and Alabama's Pro Day was canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The defensive back, thus, didn't have a chance to impress scouts with his measurables, which could've led to him falling out of the draft entirely.
The 21-year-old will face an uphill climb cracking the 49ers' secondary, particularly if he remains a strong safety. But Mayden is versatile, and Jeremiah's evaluation bodes well for his chances to surprise some people along the way.
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