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Instant analysis: Why 49ers added S Malik Mustapha in Round 4 of NFL draft

The 49ers brought in more safety help with the 124th overall pick in this year’s draft by taking Wake Forest safety Malik Mustapha. That selection illustrates what changes are likely coming in San Francisco’s secondary.

Mustapha plays an instinctive, hard-hitting style that should fit nicely long-term alongside 2023 third-round pick Ji’Ayir Brown. With cap space likely to be tight for awhile, the chances the 49ers are able to sign former All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga this offseason could dwindle if he bounces back strong from a torn ACL.

There could be a bag waiting for Hufanga in unrestricted free agency that prices him out of what the 49ers can afford. Having young, cost-controlled starting safeties will be key to solidifying the back end of their defense.

If Mustapha brings the physicality he played with in college he should quickly find a home in San Francisco.

The snaps won’t be there right away though. The 49ers are anticipating Hufanga will be back from his torn ACL during training camp, and the other starting job is carved out for Brown. Contributions from the fourth-round safety may be limited to special teams this year, but he has plenty of experience there so he should be able to help on those coverage teams while the team grooms him as their starting strong safety of the future.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire