49ers depth chart: What does the defensive line tell us?

Jamie Squire

We take a look at a potential depth chart for the 49ers defensive line. What does it tell us as we move toward training camp?

A couple weeks ago, Matt Barrows put together a projected 49ers depth chart heading into training camp. The 49ers will not release their first official depth chart for some time, so for now we're left with an unofficial depth chart we can pick apart. I've created a page with it, and you can either bookmark it, or visit it by clicking on the link in the "Library" section listed above. Scroll over library and you'll see various pages you can go directly to from any page on the site.

More depth charts: Offensive line Safety Wide Receiver

Today, I thought I'd pull out the defensive line portion of the depth chart. Here is how Barrows broke down the defensive line:

Right Defensive End: Justin Smith, Demarcus Dobbs, Tank Carradine, Lawrence Okoye
Nose Tackle: Glenn Dorsey, Ian Williams, Lamar Divens
Left Defensive End: Ray McDonald, Will Tukuafu, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Quinton Dial, Mike Purcell

In putting together his depth chart, Barrows commented that Ian Williams can also play either defensive end spot. I was always under the impression he was strictly a nose tackle, and potentially a guy who could play defensive tackle on the four-man front. His ability to play either defensive end role in the base defense provides a nice bonus for him, and gives the 49ers that much more depth with Williams and Glenn Dorsey.

All comments seem to indicate Dorsey is the front-runner at nose tackle, but the 49ers can move him around to virtually ever position on the defensive line. I'd suggest a nose tackle rotation, but the 49ers only used the nose tackle 35% or so of the time last season. Some games it was more, and some it was less, so the team can adjust as needed.

From this group, the two most interesting potential movers are Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial. Neither rookie has taken part in the offseason workout program due to injury rehab. Carradine is recovering from a midseason ACL tear, while Dial is recovering from January toe surgery. Vic Fangio said he did not expect either back at the start of training camp, so we'll have to wait and see just when they are ready to go out and practice. Carradine is the most likely to make a move once he's back, but both remain question marks while there rehab continues.

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