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Quinton Dial will be in the mix for Ray McDonald's left defensive tackle role in 2015

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The San Francisco 49ers potentially have at least one hole on the defensive line in 2015. We take a look at Vic Fangio's comments on the line.

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San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio met with the media on Tuesday, and he was very complimentary of defensive tackle Quinton Dial. He talked about how he moved into the nose tackle role when Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey went down, in spite of getting no work in that role in training camp.

The most notable piece of news is something that is not shocking, but is interesting. Fangio was asked if Quinton Dial would get a shot at the left defensive tackle role vacated by Ray McDonald. Fangio said he would be in the mix, although he was quick to clarify that his chances would depend on who is on the roster next season. The key thing though is that Dial has gained experience at both nose tackle and 3-4 defensive end.

The 49ers defensive line depth chart features a mix of young and veteran talent, with the most notable question mark being what will happen with Justin Smith. Fangio said he thought Smith had time left in him, but he just hopes Smith will take the time to figure out what he wanted to do and go from there.

Aside from Smith, the 49ers DL depth chart includes Dial, Tank Carradine, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Mike Purcell, Ian Williams, Glenn Dorsey, Kaleb Ramsey, and potentially Lawrence Okoye and Garrison Smith (practice squad guys to be signed to reserve/future contracts). It seems almost certain the team will draft another defensive line prospect, although it remains to be seen just where they go.

Quinton Dial has looked very solid in recent weeks, and is coming off arguably his best game of the year. If he does not claim the starting left defensive tackle role, I imagine he'll get a mix of work across the line. Prior to McDonald's release, Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey would have potentially been viewed as the No. 1 and No. 2 nose tackles. Williams will continue at nose tackle, but it will be interesting to see how the 49ers use Dorsey next season. He has tremendous versatility. One option is having Dorsey, Dial and Tony Jerod-Eddie providing the most versatility on the line, with Tank Carradine offering more of the pass rush role.

If Justin Smith returns, this does not preclude the 49ers from drafting another defensive lineman. However, if they are happy with the development of the young guys, maybe they wait a bit on adding another lineman. Of course, if Justin Smith retires, all bets are off.