JiAyir Brown

Brown shares insightful advice he gave 49ers rookie Mustapha

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As the 49ers begin their offseason conditioning program with organized team activities, second-year safety Ji’Ayir Brown has some advice for rookie Malik Mustapha.

Speaking to the media after the second day of OTAs, Brown was asked what advice he would give his fellow safety Mustapha, having just been a rookie himself.

“I was actually talking to him earlier today and I told him, ‘Just take your time,’ ” Brown said. “Don’t try to rush it, it’s a process. You’re not going to just step on the field and know it all. I didn’t do it, I don’t think [anybody] ever has stepped on the field their rookie year and knew it all. So, take your time with it and enjoy it, enjoy the little moments.”

Brown has had a wild ride since San Francisco selected him with the No. 87 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, going from backup to starter after Talanoa Hufanga’s mid-season knee injury and even picking off Kansas City Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LVIII.

Mustapha flashed plenty of potential during his collegiate career at Wake Forest, playing a versatile hybrid safety role for the Demon Deacons, and the 49ers are hopeful that he will turn into a difference-maker on defense after taking him No. 124 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.

As Hufanga works his way back from a torn ACL, Mustapha will have plenty of opportunities during the remainder of the offseason program to make an impact and impress the 49ers brass.

In the pass-heavy world of the modern NFL, the safety position is critical to a defense’s ability to prevent huge pass plays. Mustapha’s athleticism will make him a tough matchup for any wide receiver if he can acclimate to the speed of the professional game.

Given the impending free-agency decisions the 49ers face over the next few years, selecting strong players with late draft picks is critical to maintaining the strong level of defense San Francisco has been known for in recent seasons.  

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