The San Francisco 49ers hosted TCU defensive lineman Ross Blacklock on a pre-draft visit, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman ran a 4.9 40-yard dash at the combine. While his athletic testing won’t blow you away, Blacklock’s quickness will. Blacklock is a potential first-round draft pick that is No. 19 on NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah’s big board. Here is Jeremiah’s Blurb on Blacklock:
Blacklock is a dynamic interior defensive lineman. As a pass rusher, he launches out of his four-point stance, and his bull rush is ferocious. He creates immediate knock-back. He is ultra-twitchy. He flashes a long-arm move where he can jolt, separate, and finish. As a run defender, he successfully stacks and sheds single blocks, but he needs to improve his awareness and effectiveness versus double teams, where he gets washed down the line. He does have some durability concerns, but his skill set is special. Overall, Blacklock comes with some risk, but he’s worth it. He has the potential to develop into a top-flight interior pass rusher.
There are some plays where Blacklock looks like a top-10 pick. You’ll see Blacklock explode off the ball, “dip” under the interior offensive lineman and finish the play. Jeremiah is correct by talking about Blacklock’s awareness. When you are as quick as him, these players tend to lose their gap integrity.
Sports Info Solution’s has Blacklock as the third-highest graded defensive lineman in the draft. That’s nose tackles, 3-techs, edge rushers; you name it. Blacklock did miss the 2018 season after a non-contact Achilles injury he suffered during camp. Here is SIS’s blurb on Blacklock:
Blacklock has the arsenal of pass rush moves, strength against the run, and effective hand use to be an every-down starter in the NFL, but his lack of gap integrity at times along with inconsistent get-off explosion and finishing may hold him back. Blacklock best projects as a 1-technique in a 4-3 defense that can be a one-gap or two-gap player. In short-yardage situations, he will be stout against the run and can be an impactful interior rusher on third downs.
This feels like the 49ers doing their homework if the team cannot agree to a long-term deal with Arik Armstead and needs to move on from him. Can Blacklock be the 49ers “big end” on base downs then kick inside on passing downs? He has the skillset to pull it off. He’s also smaller than Armstead.
Looking at this CBS Mock Draft that has a few of their writers participating, Blacklock is only listed in two of the mocks. In one, he’s selected at No. 32, and in the other? No. 31. Blacklock would count as one of the 49ers 30 player visits they are allowed before the draft.