If this all blows up, you can’t get mad at the San Francisco 49ers for trying. The 49ers have upgraded their defensive line, drafting Nick Bosa No. 2 overall and trading (as well as extending) for Kansas City Chiefs pass rusher Dee Ford.
On paper, this line should be ferocious. I’ve even said several times that in a years time we could be talking about the best defensive line in football. DeForest Buckner is no longer on his own, he has help.
It’s getting attention, and the latest is from NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks who has Buckner paired with Ford as his No. 5 pass rushing tandem in the league:
The 49ers quietly have assembled a top-flight “bullpen,” with No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa joining a frontline that features Buckner and Ford, who was acquired in a trade with the Chiefs this offseason. Buckner -- a long, rangy ex-Oregon standout -- notched 12 sacks a season ago while emerging as a dominant force between the tackles. Ford is an electric edge rusher with explosive first-step quickness and an assortment of speed-rush moves that keep blockers on their heels. He’s at his best crashing off the edge from the open side with an unobstructed runway between himself and the quarterback. If Bosa lives up to his billing as arguably the top prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, look out. The 49ers’ pass rush could strike fear into the hearts of quarterbacks facing long-yardage situations.
This whole line sparks optimism, but there’s one thing that has been concerning since the trade. The system Ford is playing in.
The Chiefs were playing in a 3-4 in 2018, which was a career year for Ford. In the offseason the decision was made to go to a 4-3. That’s all fine and good, but one of the possible reasons Ford was considered for a trade was the very switch to a 4-3. There’s no hard confirmation to this, but when the trade talks began, it all pointed to Ford’s fit in the system.
The 49ers play in a 4-3.
This all could be unmerited concerns. But the fact his former team was thinking of offloading him on a system fit and he went to the same system the Chiefs may not have thought he was a fit for raises an eyebrow. The real reasons of the trade may just revolve around money and getting the franchise tag.
Ford played in a 4-3 in college so it’s not like it’s foreign to him. And the Chiefs were more than willing to keep him around if a deal didn’t get made, so it’s not like the switch is a deal breaker, it does make one wonder. Being optimistic, I think he’ll be fine. Teams rarely stay in base packages nowadays and the 49ers did their due diligence in vetting the player.
Do you find this concerning? Do you think Ford playing in a 4-3 could alter his performance?