49ers All-Time Defensive End #1

Now that we've got Nomellini and BY in at defensive tackle, I thought we'd fill out the defensive line with a pair of defensive ends.  Over the last 40 years, the 49ers defense has gone to battle with a number of extremely talented defensive ends.  They've rolled out the likes of Chris Doleman, Jeff Stover, Kevin Fagan, Dennis Brown and John Engelberger (almost got you with that last one).  The last few years even saw Bryant Young see a bit of a rebirth after he moved from the tackle position to the end.  BY is in as a tackle, but the other guys just missed out, considering what the following four guys bring to the table.

Cedrick Hardman (1970-1979): I had mentioned Bryant Young was the 49ers all-time sack leader.   However, the 49ers home page has included unofficial sacks recorded before 1982, giving us a new leader.  Cedrick Hardman finished his career with 112.5 sacks and two Pro Bowl appearances.  Even better?  He was the first player signed by the Oakland Invaders of newly formed USFL.  Unfortunately for Hardman, playing for some pretty bad squads (finishing his career with back-to-back 2-14 teams) has probably damages his Hall of Fame chances.  Consider this though, according to Maiocco's book, Hardman had 18 sacks in 1971, a season of 14 games.  Not too shabby.

Tommy Hart (1968-1977): Hart teamed with Hardman to form one of the deadliest defensive end combinations in NFL history.  The year before Hardman rolled up 18 sacks, Hart had 16 sacks, including six in a Monday night battle with the Rams.  Hart was originally cut by the team as a linebacker before packing weight and establishing himself as a monster defensive end.  Hart finished his career with 106 sacks.

Fred Dean (1981-1985): Dean the first 6+ years of his career in San Diego, before joining the 49ers in 1981 as they moved towards their first Super Bowl title.  Dean had 12 sacks in 11 games his first season with the 49ers, a season that resulted in a Pro Bowl appearance.  Two years later Dean made the Pro Bowl again, leading the NFC with 17.5 sacks.  After numerous attempts, Dean was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame this year.

Dwaine Board (1979-1988): Board was a member of two championship teams and finished his career with 61 sacks.  Board was part of a group of teams that rotated the likes of Fred Dean, Board and Michael Carter to create a ton of pressure.  Since retiring, Board has been a defensive line coach for the 49ers and the Seahawks, where he continues as DL coach.

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