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49ers All-Time Defensive End #1

In a not so surprising result, Tom Rathman had an easy victory at fullback over Joe Perry. Plenty of folks are going to be disappointed by that, but as I mentioned in that post, I think the answer is to separate out the all-times by pre-Walsh and Walsh to the present. We'll see how we deal with it next time around. In the meantime, we move back over to the defense. I went with two automatic selections at defensive tackle: Leo Nomellini and Bryant Young.

Thus, we move on to defensive end. The 49ers have put together some fearsome defensive lines in their history and these four represent the best among them. As I mentioned before, there were numerous great defensive ends in 49ers history (Chris Doleman, Jeff Stover, Kevin Fagan, Dennis Brown), but I think these are four of the best. It's still too early in his 49ers career, but will Justin Smith add himself to this illustrious group? He's not a huge sack machine, but he does so many other things well, while still picking up some sacks. He's got a long term deal so maybe he'll make his way onto this.

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, the Seahawks, and the Raiders, where he continues as DL coach.