The San Francisco 49ers’ rookie minicamp kicked off Friday afternoon, with the 49ers revealing the rookie jersey numbers prior to media availability.
Sixth-round selection Nick Zakelj, who will wear No. 63, spoke with the media on Friday for the primary time since draft night and shared a somewhat interesting fact about his football childhood.
Zakelj is a Cleveland native, drawing a connection to Alex Mack, whom the rookie watched while growing up. Mack began his profession as a member of the Cleveland Browns, playing from 2009-2015 before stints with the Falcons and the 49ers.
“I feel definitely watching guys like Alex, especially growing up in Cleveland, being drafted, I feel, in 2008,” Zakelj said. “So I sort of been watching him since I used to be very young, and having the ability to see those great Browns O-linemen—him, Joe Thomas, Mitchell Schwartz—just sort of really having the ability to see how they’re in a position to affect defenses, move guys from point A to point B, and just sort of having the ability to hear second hand of how Alex was in a position to take the sport in and sort of what he was in a position to do. So I feel that is something really great to have the option to learn from someone like that.”
Zakelj addressed the thought of doubtless playing center for the 49ers, which was an concept that general manager John Lynch alluded to during his post-draft interviews.
“I feel that [playing center] is something that [John] Lynch and coach [Kyle Shanahan] mentioned to me on Draft Day. I sort of worked [on playing center] my senior yr, sort of wanting to deal with my versatility. Form of having the ability to play all five positions is something that I would like [to show].”
Zakelj played left tackle during his time at Fordham University, but experimented at guard throughout the Senior Bowl and improved because the week of practices went along.
Moreover, the 6’6, 315-pound offensive lineman tested off-the-charts on the Mix, compiling a 9.74 Raw Athletic Rating, showcasing his athletic ability, which is a staple of what the 49ers search for of their offensive linemen.
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Zakelj is from Broadview Heights, OH. He earned a pre-draft grade of 5.93 from NFL.com, which equates to an “average backup or special-teams player,” per the location’s 8-point grading scale.
On the NFL Scouting Mix, the 6′ 6 1/8″ and 316-pound Zakelj had a 40-time of 5.13 seconds, a vertical jump of 28.5 inches, a broad jump of 110 inches, a 7.75-second three-cone drill time, 27 reps within the bench press, and a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.71 seconds. His other measurables include an arm length of 32 1/2 inches and hands
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Speaking with the media following his selection, Zakelj discussed his meetings with the 49ers prior to the draft, specifically regarding the scheme fit.
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Zakelj turned himself from an unknown college prospect coming out of highschool to a draftable NFL player after a standout profession at Fordham. Now he heads to the 49ers hoping to seek out a spot somewhere on the offensive line, which can change into at guard.
Listed here are five things to find out about Zakelj as he begins his profession with the 49ers.
A no-star recruit-turned-NFL player
Zakelj wasn’t highly recruited as a highschool player at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School in Northeast