Coming out of college at LSU, Glenn Dorsey was a dominant defensive lineman who entered the NFL with high expectations when the Kansas City Chiefs took him with the 5th pick of the 2008 draft. Dorsey was so dominant at the collegiate level he took home the Nagurski, Lombardi, Outland, and Lott Awards as a senior. He was seen as a player who could have a Warren Sapp like impact in the NFL.
"He's the best defensive tackle I have seen in the 13 years of watching the elite level of college football," said ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit.
Dorsey struggled to live up to his draft billing as a defensive end in the Chiefs' 3-4 scheme. He has been looked at as a disappointment so far in his young career because he has failed to make the kind of impact experts like Herbstreit said he would. But football experts are often wrong and the draft is an inexact science. It's possible Dorsey may have been too hyped up to begin with and was judged by an elevated standard he could never reach.
"While both (Sapp and Dorsey) have made a nice living off their explosive initial step, Dorsey does not have the same game-changing ability Sapp displayed during the prime of his career. Let's face it, Dorsey is a good sanitation man (takes out the trash by handling multiple blockers, thus freeing a teammate up to make the play), but if statistics tell the true story, he had just 13 sacks, 27 stops for losses and seven quarterback pressures in 51 collegiate games. While we follow the party line that he could develop into another Sapp, he could also be a clone of former LSU Tiger Anthony McFarland."
The above scouting report may have hit the nail on the head in regards to what Dorsey would be at the next level. He's not an explosive pass rusher or flashy player by any means. Instead, he's more of a workman like, grind it out type of guy who does the dirty work. Take 2012 for example. According to Pro Football Focus, in the four games he played, Dorsey ranked 2nd amongst defensive ends in run stop percentage (behind some person named Justin Smith). In 2011, that trend held true as Dorsey finished 6th in the same category. In contrast, he ranked 32nd out 37 in Pro Football Focus' Pass Rush Productivity Ranking in 2011 and dead last in 2010.
Based on the information above, Dorsey looks to be effective at eating blockers and stuffing the run, but he struggles at getting pressure on the quarterback. Those traits appear to translate perfectly for what the 49ers will look for Dorsey to be in the center of their defensive line. He won't be asked to rush the quarterback, but instead eat up blockers to free up other players. His play will help keep lineman off of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman so they can make plays. Can Dorsey handle that task at nose tackle? Well, consider the Chiefs have had three linebackers (Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston) make the pro bowl playing behind Dorsey (albeit a defensive end) he looks to fit the bill.
When you factor in that the 49ers did not address nose tackle in the draft or in free agency other than Dorsey, it speaks volumes for what they must think of the impact he can make at the position. The team did resign Ian Williams as well but he looks to be the primary backup as opposed to any kind of real competition. Under the guidance of defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, Dorsey could be a player who makes a major impact for the 49ers this season.