New 49ers CB Yiadom has eye-popping success in press coverage

New 49ers CB Yiadom has eye-popping success in press coverage originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The 49ers might have acquired a hidden gem when they agreed to terms with veteran free-agent cornerback Isaac Yiadom on a one-year contract Friday.

Yiadom, a six-year NFL veteran, ranks among the league’s best in press coverage and is a low-risk, high-reward option for new 49ers defensive coordinator Nick Sorensen’s evolving unit.

A scatter plot graph of Pro Football Focus data constructed by Arjun Menon offers a clear visual for what Yiadom brings to San Francisco following a career year with the New Orleans Saints.

Yiadom, 6-foot-1, stands out on the graph’s right peak beyond stars Sauce Gardner and A.J. Terrell, strongly performing with a press coverage rate of over 40 percent.

During the 2023 NFL season, Yiadom was a force in close-contact situations with wide receivers, owning a 30.4-percent incompletion rate.

He also tied for the seventh-most passes defended (14) despite only starting eight games. His new 49ers teammate, Charvarius Ward, led the NFL with 23 PDUs over 17 starts.

Yiadom made a name for himself on the Saints by only allowing 23 receptions on 47 targets. He finished 22nd in PFF’s coverage grading (80.4) and 14th in overall grading (81.1).

And of course, Yiadom’s tape supports his numbers.

The 28-year-old mainly served as a standout special teamer in New Orleans before breaking out as a tight coverage connoisseur. Yiadom played 515 defensive snaps last season while making 267 special teams appearances — his versatility presumably is valuable to San Francisco.

The former Saint is a journeyman who also has suited up for the Broncos, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans after being selected No. 35 by Denver in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Ideally for the 49ers, Yiadom’s one-year “prove it” deal will turn into an extended partnership down the line.

The Boston College product has posted 26 PDUs, two interceptions and 158 total tackles in 84 career games. Yiadom will be eager to pad his stats while aiding San Francisco’s pursuit of a sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy during the 2024 season.

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