49ers Meeting With ‘Impressive Athlete’ With 4.51 Edge Speed: Report


Getty Nick Bosa and Kerry Hyder Jr. celebrate a sack on January 8, 2023 in Santa Clara.

The San Francisco 49ers just may make it two years in a row they’ve drafted an explosive pass rusher following taking Drake Jackson one year ago.

This time, the 49ers have a top 30 visit set up with Louisville edge defender YaYa Diaby per Ryan Fowler of The Draft Network on Wednesday, April 5 — who called him an “impressive athlete” following his explosive 4.51 speed he showed at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in March. Fowler adds that the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks are two other franchises with visits lined up for the Cardinals standout.

Diaby Will Likely Impress in 1 More Area Outside of Speed

Before going off at the combine in Indianapolis, Diaby put his freakish speed on display in front of NFL personnel down in Mobile, Alabama for the Reese’s Senior Bowl:

But here’s where else Diaby can win over NFL teams seeking edge rush help including the 49ers: His production increased every season he played at Louisville.

As a freshman in 2020 during that truncated campaign, Diaby flashed some potential as a junior college transfer with 2.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage to go along with 18 total tackles and 10 solo stops through eight games. But the games and numbers rose from there.

In 2021, Diaby produced 39 total stops with 24 solo tackles and stuffed three ball carriers for a loss of yards. He additionally added his first career NCAA sack. Then his production elevated in 2022 — 37 tackles, 22 solo, 14 stops for a loss and lastly, nine sacks. He then used his hands to deflect two passes and forced two fumbles for the first time in his collegiate career.

It’s one thing to raise every statistical total each season at he CFB level. But Diaby pulled off the feat facing Power 5 competition each week on Saturdays — which has got to help raise his draft profile even higher.

Diaby Would Feast on Passing Attacks if Brought Over to the Bay Area

A defensive end with 4.51 speed in a room with Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, newcomers Clelin Ferrell and Javon Hargrave plus Jackson? Sounds like a Kris Kocurek guy with that type of speed.

The very thought of the 49ers’ DL coach working with a relentless edge rusher with that kind of first step explosion, while accompanied with improving sack production, has got to get the popular defensive line coach thinking about how Diaby would feast in a room already full of hungry pass rushers.

With the speed element he already possesses, he uses it to his advantage on bull rushes against left tackles:

But the constant golden rule for edge rushers? Contain the outside…which he does perfectly here using his quick gear:

As for how he could adjust to the 49ers if taken, he’s already played on a defense that asked him to line up in multiple gaps — something that Kocurek has done with Armstead, former 49er Charles Omenihu and others who were coached by him.

Diaby is on the speed-to-power side when it comes to his defensive end rush ability. He uses his heavy hands to his advantage in beating his blocks to create penetration. The downside is that too often, he relied on his speed and only one hand move (the long arm) to beat his blockers. If he were to go to Kocurek and the 49ers, there will have to be a number of teaching sessions on utilizing multiple hand moves for Diaby. He’s also more on the pass rush side as he’s shown to have suspect run defending ability.

But overall, he’d be more than welcomed in the Bay Area with his fiery speed. He would be a valuable option when the 49ers roll with their four defensive end “NASCAR” look in passing situations. Diaby could be worth an early day three find for S.F.

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