Pass-rushing linebacker still high on list of 49ers’ needs

The 49ers’ signing of outside linebacker Parys Haralson to a four-year contract extension was an essential move. He is the only pass-rusher on the team. But it should not change the 49ers’ approach for next week’s draft.


The problem with the 49ers’ pass rush last season was not Haralson. The problem is on the other side.


Roderick Green and Tully Banta-Cain were given opportunities, and they failed. Manny Lawson has not failed as much as he was never given a chance to show what he can do. (But, to be fair, apparently he did not earn the opportunity by convincing the coaches he could do it.)


I’ve always doubted the 49ers would take a pass-rusher with the No. 10 overall pick. Perhaps, if Brian Orakpo is there the 49ers would consider him. But, more than likely, all four offensive tackles, Michael Crabtree and B.J. Raji would have to be gone, along with the two QBs and the trade possibilities attached to them.


The 49ers do not need an every-down outside linebacker. Haralson is pretty good, and Lawson is very good on first down and second downs. Now, Lawson has to prove he can do what the 49ers selected him to do in the first place. He recorded 10.5 sacks his final year at North Carolina State. (When he left school) he was fourth on the school’s all-time list with 10.5 20.5 career sacks.


If Lawson does not show he can rush the passer, the 49ers will have to find a third-down specialist from this draft. At the very least, they’ll have to find a good player to provide depth.


There will be plenty of opportunities for the 49ers to pick up a really good pass-rusher. This draft is extremely deep with small defensive ends in college who project as outside linebackers in a 3-4 scheme.


Heck, Scot McCloughan found a pretty good one in the fifth round in 2006. His name was – and still is — Parys Haralson.

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