The San Francisco 49ers have been aggressive in trying to find improvements for the roster, and earlier this week we saw them sign defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks. He is expected to compete at the 3-technique and nose tackle roles over the next week before the team makes final roster cuts next Saturday.
The team worked out three different defensive linemen, which is kind of interesting. The line has been viewed as one of the deeper parts of the roster, but clearly the coaching staff and front office are not completely satisfied. A signing nine days before roster cuts is an odd decision when it does not seem entirely related to an injury. DeForest Buckner is dealing with his ankle injury, but he was back at practice on Wednesday, albeit in limited fashion.
On Friday, Kyle Shanahan discussed the signing in his bi-weekly KNBR interview. Host Brian Murphy asked Shanahan if the signing was meant to be a message to the current defensive linemen. Shanahan said no, but it certainly could be if they wanted. Here’s his full comment:
"It's not necessarily a message, but I mean they can take it that way. The reason you do it is because you see an opportunity to improve your team and that's something that we'll do at any time, whether it's the offseason, beginning of camp, end of camp, or anytime during the year. If you see something that you think you can improve your team on, then you try to go for it. And we worked out three D-linemen, and I've played against Sen'Derrick a number of times and he's been a good player for a while, and he did a good job in the workouts. We wanted to get him in here, give him, really, nine days to show us what he can do, and give him a chance to make this team or have someone that he's competing with, bring up their level."
Marks is competing for roles behind DeForest Buckner and Earl Mitchell. Solomon Thomas and Arik Armstead will both get interior work as well. Marks had 3.5 sacks last year, played only four games in 2015, and 8.5 sacks and 4.0 sacks in 2014 and 2013, respectively. He has the skillset to play all three downs, but most importantly, his time in Jacksonville gives him experience in the kind of defense Robert Saleh is looking to implement. It makes for an intriguing opportunity that doesn’t usually pop up this late in the preseason.