49ers 2023 prospect watch: Hawaii OL Ilm Manning is 49ers’ type

The 49ers have valued versatility along their offensive front, and they’re not shy about moving players from their natural positions in hopes of finding a better fit. That mantra is why Hawaii left tackle Ilm Manning makes a lot of sense for San Francisco in the 2023 NFL draft. They met with the offensive lineman recently per the Draft Network’s Justin Melo.

Free agency will determine just how big the 49ers need to swing in the draft along the OL, but snagging offensive linemen late in the draft is something they’ll likely do regardless of how the free agent market shakes out.

Manning spent his entire collegiate career as Hawaii’s left tackle and started 60 of the 62 games he played across five seasons. Typically it’d make sense for a left tackle with that much experience to stay at his natural position, but Manning’s 6-4, 295-pound frame will likely cause him to move inside as a pro.

The 49ers recently tried this with Western Michigan’s Jaylon Moore, though Moore had enough success at tackle against professional defensive linemen that he stuck there. UTSA’s Spencer Burford saw action all over the line in college, but stuck as a right guard. They also selected Fordham left tackle Nick Zakelj last year in hopes of converting him to the interior. Manning would likely need to follow that path and move to either guard or center if he does land in San Francisco.

Manning probably won’t be a player the 49ers target particularly early in their draft, but a Day 3 swing on a potentially versatile player with this much experience would fit how San Francisco has operated in recent drafts.


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Story originally appeared on Niners Wire