The San Francisco 49ers, as things currently stand, have addressed several needs via fee agency — the addition of Richard Sherman should bolster the defense, and Jeremiah Attaochu has upside as a low-risk, high-reward player. General manager John Lynch has hinted that the team could make a few more additions, but also, they could just stand pat. With next month’s NFL Draft quickly approaching, I’d personally be surprised to see any major splashes via free agency.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has some pieces to work with, especially with the likes of Deforest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, and Arik Armstead. San Francisco, though, could still use a premium pass rusher — someone who may be able to, someday, post double-digit sacks in a season. That hasn’t happened since 2012 when Aldon Smith had 19.5 sacks (the following season had Smith and former teammate Ahmad Brooks post 8.5 sacks each, but no one has accumulated more than 6.5 sacks in a season since then — which isn’t super great).
One player who I think would be awesome for San Francisco is defensive end Rasheem Green out of Southern California (rest assured, folks, this is not only based on the fact that I write for Conquest Chronicles). By the end of this article I hope ya’ll see what I did all of last college football season: a player with upside who will, one day, become a starter and significant contributor on defense wherever he lands.
- Height: 6’5”
- Weight: 275 lbs.
- Arm length: 33.75”
- Hand size: 9.875”
- 40 yard dash: 4.73 seconds
- Vertical jump: 32.5”
- Broad jump: 118.0”
- 3 cone drill: 7.24 seconds
- 20 yard shuttle: 4.39 seconds
Right away you’ll notice Green’s ability to line up at both defensive end and defensive tackle positions. While he was able to make plays on the interior and at both end spots, he is probably best-suited as a defensive end at the next level.
- Fluid and athletic movements
- Able to create explosive bursts of power at point of contact
- Has initial quickness to disrupt into gaps
- Dislodges from blocks and vaults himself into opposing players with sudden lateral burst
- Ability to knock passes down at line of scrimmage
- Quick feet sync up with rush work
- Uses long jab to bull-rush offensive linemen
- Needs to add some muscle to frame
- Tendency of being an upright rusher with narrow base
- Needs to play with more toughness and better techinique
- Lacks a “go-to counter move”
Green finished the 2017 college football season leading USC with a total of 10 sacks (his career total was at 16.5 sacks and 20 total tackles for loss). He was a highly-touted five star recruit coming into USC and it was exciting to see him begin to come into his own during his junior year. Some have argued that he would have benefited from another year in school, as noted by an anonymous AFC scout:
“I wanted him to go back to school because he probably would have been a top-10 pick next year. He’s not strong enough to handle NFL guys yet, so this year might be a redshirt year for him. He has some serious juice, though. He’s going to be a dude when it all comes together.”
His awareness issues are of concern as well. Green needs to do a better job of identifying the location of the ball and reading his keys - there are times when he finds himself working in the opposite direction of the ball carrier. This, coupled - again - with him needing to grow a little more into his physique and work on his overall technique may have some scouts concerned.
These are all things that can be worked on at the next level, though - so while it may be hard to peg him as a prospect due to the boom-or-bust nature of being an unpolished prospect, I would be surprised to see Green slip anywhere beyond the 3rd round.
The 49ers have spent the last three drafts bolstering the defensive line with the likes of Thomas, Buckner, and Armstead. The addition of Attaochu also supplements the need of a pass rusher for San Francisco, at least for the time-being. I don’t see John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan investing a first rounder on another defensive lineman (unless Bradley Chubb falls to them at No. 9, which seems unlikely).
San Francisco dealt away their high second round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo, but do still have the New Orleans Saints later second round pick. If Green is available there or somewhere in the third round, I’d say go for it; the upside is there for him to be a legitimate starter in a season or two as long as he puts the work in. It will be up to the front office to decide whether or not he is worth the investment while his game develops during his first couple of years as a pro.
Draft Projection: 2nd/3rd round