I am amazed at how many people say we can't draft so and so because they are a 4-3 DE or so and so because they are not a 3-4 DE. The Niners only ran a pure 3-4 defense 35% of the time or so. Isaac Sopoaga was in on only 31 % of the niners defensive snaps. When teams go into multiploe WR sets and the niners go into a nickel or dime package the NT comes out and McDonald and Smith play the 3 technique instead of the 5 technique position. This essentially means that 65% of the time the niners are in a hybrid or a 4-3 defense.
So the Zoners who want to draft a run stuffer that weighs 350 pounds with the first round pick, I say NO. I would rather have Smiths replacement who will be on the field the majority of the time than a run stuffer who is only in on 35% of downs.
See the link, NT is not used as much for the 9ers.