Originally posted by 9erred:
I am down with the OP. With more teams running hury up offenses (eagles now pats) we need lighter DL that can stay on for 70 snaps a game. A 3-4 DE carries a lot more importance (in my booke) than a NT. I think the niners can get by with RJF and or soap with Ian Williams as back up NT. get a stud 3-4 DE and maybe another NT in FA to compete.
That's the problem, there is none in this draft short of perhaps Richardson who will be gone well before the 49ers pick.
Like I said, more of the so-called 3-4 DE prospects resemble Ray McDonald rather than Justin Smith. You've got primarily guys with very limited pass rush ability, solid run-stoppers, but limited ability to get to the quarterback. Anyone expecting pretty much any of these guys to be an adequate replacement for Justin Smith are going to be sorely disappointed.
Coming out of college, Justin Smith was a 6-4, 270 pound defensive end running a 4.6 40, able to stop the run AND rush the passer with a variety of moves combined with an absolute non-stop motor and tremendous work ethic.
I'd rather take a chance on a smaller defensive end who can rush the passer, hopefully growing into the role vs just picking some guy because he happens to be big but isn't a complete player overall.
As far as NT, unless Goldson isn't re-signed, I see that as THE priority, that is the single biggest move this team could make to improve the defense as a whole, there's no other position that you could swap out, short of finding a Sherman-esque CB in the late rounds, that would have as much of an impact as finding a high quality starting NT that would free up Bowman and Willis to go and make big plays.