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Vic Fangio: Darius Fleming moved to inside linebacker

Vic Fangio provided an update on the 49ers depth chart at inside linebacker.

Thearon W. Henderson

49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio met with the media on Wednesday, and there was a small tidbit at the end of his session that I overlooked.

"[Cam Johnson, Trenton Robinson, Darius Fleming are] all a whole lot better than they were last year. Cam Johnson is a very viable candidate to make this team right now. Trenton is, too. And Darius Fleming was doing very good work at inside linebacker, which we switched him to at the start of OTAs. And he was doing very good work there until he got a little injured there. So, been pleased with those three guys. Feel a lot stronger about them now than I did last year at this time."

When Darius Fleming was drafted out of Notre Dame last year, the general expectation was that he would initially get work at outside linebacker. He had played outside linebacker and some defensive end at Notre Dame, and while he had things to work on, the 49ers seemed ready to continue with that.

Apparently he didn't quite reach it. I didn't watch him at Notre Dame, but Dylan and Tre had a brief exchange on Twitter, in which they both acknowledged not seeing great pass rushing skills coming out of college. Our Irish blog confirmed as much when we spoke to them after the 2012 NFL Draft.

Fleming is dealing with some kind of tweak to his knee, suffered last week, and we're left to wait and see when he'll be back on the practice field. Whatever the case with his knee, the move to OLB removes one player from that position competition. Your primary players competing for playing time at outside linebacker behind Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks are Parys Haralson, Corey Lemonier and Cam Johnson. Dan Skuta is also getting some practice time at outside linebacker, but Haralson, Lemonier and Johnson are the three to track for the foreseeable future.

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