The San Francisco 49ers still have question marks at the inside linebacker position, as they look for depth and training camp competition for NaVorro Bowman and Michael Wilhoite. The team was reported to be bringing in Mississippi State inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney, and now they are expected to bring in TCU inside linebacker Paul Dawson. Matt Barrows is reporting the visit will take place on Tuesday.
Dawson is projected as either an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, or on the weak side in a 4-3. There is some concern about his size, but at 6'0, 235 pounds, he is not all that much smaller than NaVorro Bowman was coming out of college. Bowman was the same height, and weighed 242 pounds. Coming into an NFL weight room with professional strength and conditioning work would be a good thing for Dawson.
There is some talk about maturity concerns, and the NFL.com scouting report says he is not "beloved" at TCU. I don't know what exactly to make of that, but if he ended up in Santa Clara, he would be joining a solid group.
The 49ers will likely look to add some kind of depth to the ILB depth chart in the coming weeks. They could draft Dawson or another linebacker at the end of the month, or potentially add a veteran like Lance Briggs after the May 12 comp pick deadline. Behind Bowman and Wilhoite, they have Nick Moody, Shayne Skov, Desmond Bishop and Nick Bellore. It is a big drop-off from the depth chart a year ago, and even without that comparison, it's not exactly a murderer's row of linebackers. There is talent there, but question marks.