Heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, most 49ers fans knew the defensive line was an area that would be addressed with at least one selection if not two. The Niners selected Tank Carradine in the second round which gave them a powerful and versatile pass rusher capable of growing into a five-technique (5T) end. When the 49ers selected Quinton dial with the 157th overall pick in the fifth round they again went with power and versatility.
At 6-5, 318lbs, Dial has excellent size to play the 5T but is versatile enough to slide inside and play the three or zero techniques. Dial's size and strength make him an asset in run defense. In fact, Dial's primary responsibility as a 5T end (as it was at Alabama) is to do just that, stop the run. While Dial's stats at Alabama may leave you wanting more, his responsibilities on the defensive line aren't quantifiable.
Dial's responsibilities at Alabama will likely be very similar in San Francisco. Assignment one: set the edge. Essentially, force the running backs toward the middle of the field...do not let them get outside. Assignment two: take up as much space and as many blockers as possible allowing the all-world linebacking core to do what they do best, make plays. For more on Dial's style of play and other insights, check out a scouting report submitted to Niners Nation by his former roommate and best friend.
Dial originally signed with Alabama out of high school as a four star (Rivals.com) defensive tackle. Dial was unable to qualify academically, however, and enrolled at East Mississippi Community College. After getting his grades up Dial again signed with Alabama in 2011.
Dial did not start much during his time at Alabama. Instead he provided depth off the bench and still contributed 24 total tackles including one sack and three for loss his junior year. During his senior year, Dial tallied 21 tackles, one and half sacks, and four and half tackles for loss.
- Size/Power: Dial has the size and strength to anchor really well while taking on multiple blocks. This frees up linebackers to make plays.
- Versatility: Dial can play the 5T, 3T or NT positions without much hesitation. This give the 49ers flexibility along the line and allows them show multiple formations with the same personal.
Areas for Improvement:
- Burst: Dial isn't a pass rusher and probably won't record more than four or five sacks, at most, during a season. His burst off the line is slow (probably due to his assignments) and he won't catch anyone off guard with his quickness.
- One dimensional: He's a run stopper, plain and simple. That's not a knock on the guy...he's never been asked to pressure the quarterback. He's a prototypical space eater and there will always be room for guys like that on an NFL roster.
Dial might be remembered most for his controversial hit on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray in the SEC Championship game last year.
Dial was not suspended for the hit and it did not draw a penalty flag.
I like the Dial pick and am really excited to watch him grow as a defender. He'll provide instant depth along a line needs it desperately. He's got great upside given the level of completion he's played against (SEC) and the scheme he played in (Alabama's 3-4).
Dial may never be an impact player on defense but he's a ‘lunch pail' guy; meaning he'll work hard and smart when given the opportunity. To me, he's a typical Harbaalke selection.