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.
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.
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.
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.
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.