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 him. love Andersen’s versatility and skill set as a do-it-all player makes it easy to see why San Francisco had a formal meeting with him at the Combine according to Justin Melo of Draft Network.
Linebacker depth is one of the 49ers’ strengths, but Andersen is the type of player they’ve had success with getting flyballs in the middle and late rounds.
He began his college career as a running back/linebacker, then moved to QB in 2018, where he dominated as a running back with 1,412 yards and a school-record 21 rushing touchdowns. In 2019 he moved up to full-time linebacker, where his overall athletic ability allowed him to produce despite his inexperience.
That first season as a full-time LB he earned First Team All-America honors while amassing 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks with one interception and five interrupted passes in 10 games. In 2021 he was the FCS ADA National Defensive Player of the Year after amassing 150 tackles.
Andersen looks fast on the tape, and he backed it up with a 4.42 40-yard run at the combine. It’s unlikely he’ll step in and fight for a starting LB job right away, but he could contribute on special teams and maybe win a few carries as a sprinter while learning the nuances of playing linebacker.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has been pushing a more position-free approach to offensive football. Andersen would allow 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.