Projecting the 49ers’ DL depth chart in 2013 and 2014

What will the 49ers’ DL depth chart look like in 2013 and 2014? Here’s my best guess, and I’m interested to read yours as well.

2013

BASE

ROLB, or “Leo” or standing rusher – Aldon Smith (although Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio could choose to play Parys Haralson here to keep Aldon Smith fresh for the sub packages, like 2011).

RDE or Under tackle – Justin Smith, Glenn Dorsey

NT or Over tackle – Glenn Dorsey, Ian Williams

LDE or Five-technique – Ray McDonald, Quinton Dial

LOLB or SAM – Ahmad Brooks, Corey Lemonier

Analysis: Glenn Dorsey is Justin Smith’s backup in base until Tank Carradine fully recovers from his torn ACL and gains 15 pounds. Quinton Dial is Ray McDonald’s backup at five-tech because Dial is a huge, long-armed run-stuffer, like Seattle’s Red Bryant.

NICKEL

RDE Aldon Smith, Tank Carradine, Corey Lemonier

RDT Justin Smith, Tank Carradine, Demarcus Dobbs

LDT Ray McDonald, Tank Carradine, Glenn Dorsey, Quinton Dial

LDE Ahmad Brooks, Tank Carradine, Corey Lemonier

Analysis: Tank Carradine will be the first DL off the bench at every Nickel DL position when he’s back from his injury. Corey Lemonier will back up the defensive ends. Glenn Dorsey and Demarcus Dobbs could get some snaps at Nickel DT while Carradine rehabs.

 

2014 – To make this interesting, I’m assuming Justin Smith retires and the 49ers cut Ray McDonald and Ahmad Brooks to clear cap space. McDonald will be 30 in ’14 and the 49ers will have to pay him $3.5 million. Brooks will be 30 as well, and the 49ers will have to pay him $5.15 million.

BASE

ROLB or Leo – Aldon Smith

RDE or Under tackle – Tank Carradine

NT or Over tackle – Glenn Dorsey

LDE or Five-technique – Quinton Dial

LOLB or SAM – Corey Lemonier

Analysis: Tank Carradine takes over for Justin Smith, Quinton Dial takes over for Ray McDonald, and Corey Lemonier takes over for Ahmad Brooks. The 49ers go in a new direction at five-tech with Dial, who is a two-down run-stuffer.

NICKEL

RDE – Aldon Smith

RDT – Tank Carradine

LDT – Glenn Dorsey, Demarcus Dobbs, Lawrence Okoye

LDE – Corey Lemonier

Analysis: If Dorsey shows he can generate a pass rush in 2013, he’ll get a chance to take McDonald’s spot in Nickel in 2014. But if Dorsey proves he’s just a run-stuffer, the 49ers could give the Nickel LDT spot to Demarcus Dobbs or a 2014 draft pick.

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