49ers vs. Chiefs: Defense arrow up, arrow down

The San Francisco 49ers are halfway through their preseason schedule, and it's time to re-assess who improved their stock, and who saw their stock fall. Today, we move on to the defense.

Yesterday afternoon, we took a look at the arrow up and arrow down 49ers players on the offensive side of the ball. Jim Harbaugh likes to use the phrase "arrow up" to describe performing well in camp. He does not use arrow down, but we'll use the two phrases each week to assess who is building positive and negative momentum with their preseason performance. And thanks to Mickey Pain, we've got some fun arrow graphics to use with it!

Nose Tackle

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Ian Williams
Glenn Dorsey

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None

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Lamar Divens
Mike Purcell

Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey both continue to look rock solid on the 49ers defensive line. Ray McDonald was quoted earlier in camp saying he thought the nose tackle position would be improved this year, and it is looking like that will be the case. Williams seems much more consistent in helping collapse the pocket, and Dorsey likely provides better depth across the line than Ricky Jean-Francois.

Defensive End

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Tony Jerod-Eddie

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None

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Demarcus Dobbs
Lawrence Okoye
Will Tukuafu

Jerod-Eddie has not been a high profile guy, but he has quietly looked solid through two preseason games. It's a tough numbers game along the line, but he has earned Jim Harbaugh's praise. Harbaugh's praise does not always equal his eventual actions, so we'll have to keep that in mind. I still think Demarcus Dobbs has the edge, but Jerod-Eddie is in the mix.

Inside Linebackers

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Michael Wilhoite
Nick Moody
Nate Stupar

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None

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Patrick Willis
NaVorro Bowman
Travis Johnson

Pro Football Focus rated Nate Stupar as the 49ers best defensive player in last week's game. I was checking out Michael Wilhoite last weekend, and while Stupar did get a sack. However, I must not have paid enough attention otherwise, because he didn't pop out too frequently Andrew is going to provide a bit of film breakdown, so we'll see what I'm missing.

Wilhoite once again had a solid performance, and Nick Moody had a good day, leading the team in tackles. Wilhoite has just about locked down the primary backup linebacker role, but Moody is also making a name for himself.

Outside Linebackers

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Corey Lemonier
Parys Haralson
Cam Johnson

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None

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Ahmad Brooks
Dan Skuta
Aldon Smith

Through two games, Cam Johnson is suddenly looking like a guy the 49ers would want to slip onto the practice squad, but someone else is almost a lock to grab off waivers. Johnson has not been quite the revelation like Lemonier, but in his second season with the team, Johnson has looked pretty solid. It's a problem the 49ers face with such a deep roster. You can't keep everybody.

Cornerbacks

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Perrish Cox
Nnamdi Asomugha
Tramaine Brock

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None

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Carlos Rogers
Tarell Brown
Darryl Morris
Marcus Cooper

Nothing really changes for the secondary. Nnamdi, Brock and Cox all looked solid on Friday. Brock had a misstep on one play, but otherwise was generally fine. All three likely make the roster, but I'm curious how the team splits up playing time. I could see some kind of rotation to keep the secondary fresh, but I'm not really sure how they rotate these guys. Brock and Cox bring more versatility, but Nnamdi is looking really good through two games.

Safety

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Eric Reid

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None

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Donte Whitner
Craig Dahl
Trenton Robinson
Michael Thomas
Raymond Ventrone
Darcel McBath
C.J. Spillman

It's Eric Reid's world, and we're just living in it. The 49ers first round pick was the second free safety in the game, but he ended up with more snaps against the Chiefs starting offense than starter Craig Dahl. Vic Fangio indicated Reid would likely be starting on Sunday against the Vikings, and that could be it as far as locking down the starting job. He's been solid thus far, and a strong performance against the Vikings should settle that situation for the coming season.

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