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Niners Nation Scouting Report: Quentin Groves, DE/LB Auburn

So I was checking out the comments in the Weekend Roundup and I noticed an interesting comment I wanted to take and turn into this scouting report.  StrictlyFootball mentioned Quentin Groves as a guy who could do really give us some quality depth and help develop the pass rush:

By picking Groves we gain instant depth at the line man position, and combine that with the up and coming players on the D line, like McDonald and Cohen, with Nolan's tendency to switch out most defensive players in a series, we get a very well rounded group of QB bashers.

With Justin Smith at RE, Issac at DT, Groves at LE for our front three, and our LB core from right to left, Lawson, Willis, Thomas, Moore/Banta-Cain/"who the heck ever", this front seven looks supremely fast, strong, and overwhelmingly able to put pressure on the opposing offense.

Most of you are probably thinking that it's absurd that we would pick a DE with the 29th pick in the draft, when we have such glaring needs at WR and at OG and C. But here's the thing, with the depth of WR in the draft class and the signing of Issac Bruce (who is most likely going to fill one of the top three starting roles for that position on our team), the 49ers are looking more and more likely to pick a WR in the second round.

I like the analysis, and I think Quentin Groves could make an impact in the pass rush, but there are some issues to consider as far as where he would fit with the current team.  Groves played defensive end in college, but at 254 pounds he's clearly too small for that role in the NFL.  StrictlyFootball mentioned the Scout's Inc scouting report and I thought I'd also throw out the New Era Scouting scouting report:

Groves is a player who is probably best-suited for a 3-4 scheme. He really isn't big enough to play in a 4-3 on every down. He'll have to improve in coverage, as he really hasn't had enough experience at linebacker to get a good feel for it. He is a top-end athlete who has a passion for the game, so he'll get every opportunity to learn the position. Productive throughout his career, finishing with 23 sacks and 29 tackles for a loss.

New Era ranks him as the #5 general defensive end, but the #2 3-4 outside linebacker.  Groves would be in a similar situation as my boy Jay Moore was last year.  Moore was an undersized defensive end who was going to be converted to outside linebacker before suffering a season-ending injury.  So the question then is should we draft a guy like Groves with either our first or second round pick, knowing this is the kind of role for which he's best suited?  I have to update the mock draft database, but he's a guy I've seen mentioned multiple times at that second round spot.

Groves seems like a guy who would line up as an outside linebacker, but who could rotate in to the line when we're going for more of a speed rush.  If the 49ers were to draft Groves, I'd guess he would compete with Jay Moore for playing time and Tully Banta-Cain be worked into an off the bench role rotating with those two and Manny Lawson, primarily in pass rushing downs.  Right now our linebacking corp consists of Willis, Lawson, Banta-Cain Dontarrious Thomas, J. Moore, B. Moore, Haralson, Ulbrich and Dennis Haley (signed a 2-year contract in January).  Say the starters  Willis, Lawson, B. Moore/Thomas and some combination of Banta-Cain, J. Moore, Haralson and others at the other OLB position.  Do the 49ers take Groves with a first or second round pick or do you address a more pressing area of need like defensive line depth, offensive line help or wide receivers?  You could certainly throw out arguments for both sides of the debate.  If the brass thinks Groves can really help the pass rush then maybe you make that move.  Personally, I'm thinking OL and WR, but that's just one man's opinion.