The San Francisco 49ers had to shake up their defensive line depth chart on Wednesday as defensive tackle DeForest Buckner left practice with an ankle injury. Buckner got up after the injury and was “walking gingerly,” according to Matt Maiocco. Chris Biderman said the injury did not appear serious.
Chris Jones and Solomon Thomas moved into the starting lineup in his absence. Jones took over first team defensive tackle roles next to Earl Mitchell in the base defense. Thomas took over first team defensive tackle roles in the team’s nickel. Arik Armstead has been the other first team nickel defensive tackle. Jones got a lot of praise during OTAs and minicamp, and being next man up behind Buckner bodes well.
The 49ers defensive line features a lot of options for rotation. Quinton Dial and D.J. Jones are working behind Earl Mitchell, while Jones and Thomas appear to be the primary backups for Buckner. The interior line will remain a work in progress, particularly when they move into the nickel and Buckner, Armstead, and Thomas are getting worked into the mix.