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49ers 3-4 defensive front among lightest in the NFL

The 49ers appear to carry one of the lighter defensive front sevens among 3-4 defenses. Any thoughts on why that might be?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Our friends over at The Falcoholic put together an article looking at the 15 NFL teams that run the 3-4 defense. They put this together because the Falcons are making a switch over to the 3-4, and they're trying to figure it all out. What was interesting about this particular breakdown is that it ranks the 15 teams based on the weight of their front seven. Based on this ranking, the 49ers are the second lightest team employing the 3-4.

The weights are based on the officially reported information. That's noteworthy because we know those numbers are not entirely accurate. For example, Glenn Dorsey is listed at as weight 297 pounds, but I'm pretty sure I recall him saying he was a little bit above that this past season.

All that being said, even if teams have underestimated weight a little bit, the 49ers likely are still on the low end of the spectrum. In this case, nose tackle is the primary reason for that, with Dorsey listed at 297. Ian Williams is listed at 305, and could still end up back in the lineup, but the 49ers would still be second lightest.

I'm curious why this is, and if anybody has any theories as to why the 49ers would employ a lighter group? They don't have that traditional monster of a man in the middle, but seem to look for a slightly more athletic group. It reminds me of their particularly light offensive lines back in the day, although obviously there are differences. But it's an interesting topic to consider.