Originally posted by 9erred:
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.
What if Smith's replacement isn't there? Do you just draft a guy all of a sudden because he's a defensive end and no other reason?
Additionally, if you draft a DE, who's going to play more snaps next season, a starting NT or a backup DE? There's also no guarantee that an NT wouldn't play more snaps. Soap's snaps dropped off this year from last, some of that had to do with how team's were scheming against the offense, I feel another part was attributed due to his reduced overall effectiveness.
So yeah, you can look at simply as an issue of snaps, I look at it as matchup issue. There's no position on the defense that the 49ers can improve on defense more than NT IMO. If they can find a top DE such as Datone Jones in the 1st round, great, I'm all for it, but if they don't have any particularly compelling prospects available, then there's no reason not to select a player like Jenkins or Williams.