Sakamoto: 49ers Re-sign ILB Michael Wilhoite, Should Have Drafted Denzel Perryman

USA Today Sports

USA Today Sports

To no one’s surprise, the San Francisco 49ers remained predictable. After selecting exactly zero linebackers in this year’s NFL draft, 49ers GM Trent Baalke settled for second-best, by re-signing five-year veteran ILB Michael Wilhoite to a one-year deal.

To be honest, I’m not upset the team passed on drafting an inside linebacker. Sure, the team could have stayed pat at No. 37 and prayed for ILB Reggie Ragland to fall in their laps, but he doesn’t add much value as a two-down thumper. This is the same exact reason Baalke passed up on drafting ILB Denzel Perryman last year.

If you recall, the 49ers had the opportunity to select the Miami product, but due to Perryman’s coverage limitations, opted for a four-down player. That player ended up being Samford SS Jaquiski TarttShortly after making the pick, Baalke already had a vision for his second-round pick (No. 46).

“A four-down player. A guy that can contribute on all four downs. He’s big. He’s fast. He’s physical. He’s been coached well at Samford. He’s a fourth-down contributor day one,” Baalke said.

Perryman was taken two picks later by the San Diego Chargers. And while I wanted the team to draft Perryman, despite his limitations, that wasn’t the case.

Fast forward to today, and the 49ers find themselves in the exact same position they were last season. Playing with an under-achieving inside linebacker core [ILB NaVorro Bowman omitted]. Wilhoite is no better than a serviceable backup while ILB Gerald Hodges and ILB Shayne Skov are not far behind. It’s sad but true.

Now, the 49ers will have to deal with the same dilemma they had a year ago. Finding a suitable complementary piece to Bowman. In 49 regular season games, Wilhoite has recorded 213 tackles, 0 sacks, and 3 interceptions.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.