The San Francisco 49ers head into the 2016 NFL Draft with numerous needs on both sides of the ball. On the defensive side of the ball, one area that will need some additional depth is at outside linebacker. The 49ers got 6.5 sacks each from Aaron Lynch and Ahmad Brooks, but not a whole lot else beyond that. Corey Lemonier is a non-factor on defense, and Eli Harold is a work in progress.
Brooks is a significant candidate to be released this offseason. We say that every year, and he manages to stick around, so I suppose anything is possible. However, whether he is released or not, the team is going to need to add pass rushers. It is one of those positions, where if you think you have enough, you need to add at least one more.
Dan Kadar released his first post-Super Bowl 2016 NFL mock draft, and he has the 49ers selecting Eastern Kentucky pass rusher Noah Spence. He could fit in quite nicely as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Here is what Dan had to say about Spence:
There is not a Von Miller in this year's draft, but Spence is the closest thing. He's a fluid edge rusher with quickness and the skills to line up at end or linebacker. San Francisco needs to get better at rushing the passer, and Spence is the player who can do it.
The big topic of discussion with Spence is failed drug tests. He was booted out of Ohio State in 2014 for multiple failed drug tests, and eventually ended up at Eastern Kentucky. He failed no drug tests at EKU, but this will be a notable issue for most teams in his pre-draft evaluation.