Friend of the site Dan Kadar put together his latest NFL mock draft this morning, and he projects the 49ers to draft Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams.
After losing Isaac Sopoaga in free agency, the 49ers have a hole in the middle of their defense. Ian Williams is a solid player, but more of a backup. If they happen to keep this pick, San Francisco has its pick of nose tackles with Williams and John Jenkins of Georgia. While we've often considered a safety or defensive end for San Francisco, the value of Williams here is too good to pass up.
The 49ers current nose tackle depth chart consists of Glenn Dorsey and Ian Williams. Dorsey has played all along the line, but Jim Harbaugh told the media the newly signed defensive lineman would get a crack at the nose tackle position.
It remains to be seen just how the 49ers view their starting nose tackle position, and the upcoming draft will provide some measure of clarity. After all, if the 49ers do not draft a nose tackle, or wait until the sixth or seventh round, we can likely assume Williams and/or Dorsey will be the guy.
At the same time, this is a position that saw Isaac Sopoaga play approximately 1/3 of the defensive snaps in 2012. He did no translate over to a defensive tackle role in the 49ers nickel. If the 49ers draft a defensive tackle relatively early, they may view this as a person who can handle the nose tackle role, but also someone who can work inside in the nickel. Again, we can infer more of the 49ers 2013 plans by who they draft and when they draft them, as well as the positions they do not draft.
Do you see a potential nose tackle going in the first or second day, or is this something the 49ers wait for later? I am leaning towards the latter, but in my mind it depends quite a bit on their view of Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey.