clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Free agent wishlist: Dalvin Tomlinson fortifies the interior of the defensive line

More help along the defensive interior

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The attention paid to the 49ers injury issues at the quarterback position ultimately overshadowed how much their depth was tested on the interior defensive line during the 2022 season.

Over the course of the season, the 49ers saw Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, Hassan Ridgeway, and Kevin Givens all miss time with various injuries. While the 49ers run defense held serve the best they could in the absence of their best four defensive tackles, their season ending loss to Philadelphia highlighted the need to add a dynamic player on the interior.

Armstead and Givens have been fantastic, while Kinlaw hasn’t had the opportunity to get the consistent reps needed to develop as a result of unfortunate injury luck. These three are a great start as building blocks on the inside, but another big body would be a welcomed addition to this defensive front.

Getting a proven commodity to pair with Armstead on the frontline could end up paying huge dividends for guys like Givens and Kinlaw. Having someone eat up a large chunk of the snaps, particularly on early downs, would open the door to Givens and Kinlaw staying fresher and being more efficient with the reps they receive as a result.

Dalvin Tomlinson is a player who fits the mold perfectly and is projected to have a price tag that falls in line with the 49ers budget.

Tomlinson is a six-year NFL veteran who was drafted by the New York Giants with the 55th pick of the 2017 draft. After spending four years in New York, Tomlinson has been in Minnesota for each of the last two seasons, playing an integral role in the trenches for the Vikings.

At 6’3, 325 pounds, Tomlinson has the ideal size to be a plug and play option as a gap stuffing force on the interior of the 49ers defensive line. Tomlinson has recorded at least 20 “STOPS” in each of his six years in the NFL, highlighting his effectiveness at shutting down opposing rushing attacks.

I put together some cut ups from last season to highlight the game wrecking ability that Tomlinson has when it comes to stuffing the run.

Tomlinson’s strongest attribute would be his ability to stifle opposing running games, but he also possesses the requisite pass rushing skills that would allow him to see the field in any situation without being limited to solely an early down role.

Tomlinson finished the 2022 with ten quarterback hits, and has averaged nine per season since 2019, while also having more than seven in each of those four seasons. Here are a couple of cut ups that show Tomlinson’s ability to create pressure up the middle, starting with a sack of Aaron Rodgers following a fork lift move to beat the right guard.

Tomlinson also had some pressures on tape that were the result of motor and hustle more than anything else. That kind of effort on the interior translates to any team and any scheme, and would pair well with the mentality that defensive line coach Kris Kocurek has instilled with his group over the last few years.

Spotrac currently has Tomlinson’s market value listed at 8.5 million dollars annually, which is well within the ballpark of what the 49ers can manage financially this offseason. A proven player who comes at a very affordable rate given the upside Tomlinson would have with the supporting cast he would have around him on the 49ers.