The San Francisco 49ers revealed their Week 1 depth chart on Tuesday, and while it is unofficial, the defensive line looks like we would expect. Arik Armstead is listed at LEO, Tank Carradine is on the strong side end role, and Earl Mitchell and DeForest Buckner are in the middle.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina have both made it clear they plan on using heavy rotation among their defensive linemen. Saleh re-emphasized that on Thursday when he met with the media. He said that he sees everyone on the defensive line as a starter.
It will be interesting to see just how much rotation the 49ers use on Sunday. In the base defense, Solomon Thomas is the guy who will get the most additional work, likely in place of Tank Carradine at times. D.J. Jones and Xavier Cooper are reserves on the interior for Earl Mitchell and DeForest Buckner on occasion. I am more curious to see how much sub package work Jones, Cooper, and Mitchell all get. Finally, you’ve got Elvis Dumervil and Aaron Lynch as rotational options on passing downs.
The nickel in particular is going to be an interesting rotation to track. If you move Armstead inside next to Buckner, the edge would include Elvis Dumervil and potentially Eli Harold. You’ve got Tank Carradine and Aaron Lynch as guys who can help on the edge, and then Solomon Thomas and Xavier Cooper on the interior. Pita Taumoepenu could play on the edge as well, but my guess is he will be inactive. How do you see the rotation shaking out? We won’t see 1,000+ snaps from DeForest Buckner, but will he still be a bit of a workhorse?