49ers had formal meeting with one of draft’s most versatile prospects

Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen is perhaps the most unique prospect in the 2022 NFL draft. The two-time All-Conference linebacker began his career as an All-Conference quarterback in 2018. The 49ers love versatility and Andersen’s skill set as a do-everything player makes it easy to see why San Francisco had a formal meeting with him at the combine per the Draft Network’s Justin Melo.

Linebacker depth is one of the 49ers’ strengths, but Andersen is the type of player they’ve had success taking mid-to-late-round fliers on.

He began his college career as a running back/linebacker, then moved to QB in 2018 where he dominated as a runner with 1,412 yards and a school-record 21 rushing touchdowns. In 2019 he moved to linebacker full-time where his overall athleticism allowed him to produce despite his inexperience.

That first season as a full-time LB he earned First-Team All-America honors while racking up 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks with one interception and five pass breakups in 10 games. In 2021 he was the FCS ADA National Defensive Player of the Year after racking up 150 tackles.

Andersen looks fast on tape, and he backed it up with a 4.42 40-yard dash at the combine. He’s unlikely to step in and fight for a starting LB job right away, but he could contribute on special teams and perhaps earn some carries as a short-yardage back while he learns the nuances of playing linebacker.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan has been pushing a more position-less approach to offensive football. Andersen would allow the philosophy to jump to the other side of the ball, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 49ers take advantage of that.

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