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49ers had planned a pre-draft video conference scheduled with Texas A&M DT Justin Madubuike

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Defensive tackle is an obvious need for San Francisco.

South Carolina v Texas A&M Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers had a pre-draft visit scheduled with former Texas A&M defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Defensive tackle is a bigger need than a lot of fans realize. With no DeForest Buckner, the 49ers will need to replace a player that played 78% of the snaps at a high-level. It’s not just about Buckner, though. D.J. Jones and Solomon Thomas are entering the final year of their contracts. That leaves Jullian Taylor and Kerry Hyder as the two interior defensive linemen that have played more than ten snaps in an NFL game. Hyder is also on a one-year deal.

The Niners need to think beyond 2020, which is why defensive tackle is a pressing need. I’d take Madubuike at No. 31 and feel great about the selection. If the 49ers trade back and still land Madubuike, then Lynch will be in the running for another Executive of the Year nominee The former Aggie is a good football player in any situation. On this defensive line, Madubuike would learn from Kris Kocurek and the likes of Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, and Arik Armstead and flourish.

This is where I may lose you, but I’d rather have Madubuike than Auburn’s Derrick Brown. Give me the player that can get after the quarterback for 50 snaps a game as opposed to the run-stopping defensive tackle the NFL falls for every year and never lives up to where he was drafted. Madubuike is a name we covered last week as an option outside of the first round:

The 6’3”, 293-pound defensive tackle ran a 4.83 40-yard dash and had a 7.37 3-cone drill—both tests above average. Madubuike doesn’t stay blocked. He won a bunch of his 1-on-1 battles in the games I watched with an arsenal of pass rush moves. Madubuike was intriguing already with his athleticism, but when a defensive lineman stays as clean as Madubuike did in college ends up productive in the NFL.

He finished the season with 11.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Madubuike also had an interception; two batted passes and a forced fumble.