Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

49ers DC DeMeco Ryans on Arik Armstead’s role change and the addition Charles Omenihu

Nov 4, 2021 at 5:51 PM--

The 49ers have made two key moves on the defensive line in recent days, with the addition of Charles Omenihu in a trade with the Houston Texans and the decision to move Arik Armstead into a role that will see him line up primarily on the inside.

49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans discussed both moves during his media session on Thursday, starting with Armstead's. Ryans suggested that Armstead moving inside isn't something that is permanently etched in stone but that the defense will continue the approach they used last Sunday when they put Armstead on the inside during their 33-22 win over the Chicago Bears.

"Yeah, Armstead has moved inside," Ryans said. "He started last week, moving inside, that's still fluid. We'll see, what do we need for each particular week. We'll see in what area Arik can help us."

The move will help the 49ers compensate for the loss of Javon Kinlaw, who was in the starting lineup at defensive tackle before recently being lost for the season due to knee surgery.

"The thing about (Armstead) is he's done it before and he's very good inside as well," Ryans said. "And we know his dominance on the edge. Nobody really wants to run the ball to Arik's side when he's on the edge and now putting him inside, I think Arik was able to make a lot more plays inside this past week, putting him inside. So, he can be a productive playmaker for us inside. And with Kinlaw, I think not having Kinlaw does attribute to that, putting Arik inside. But Arik has done fantastic. He did a good job last week and he'll continue to get better the more reps he gets inside."

The 49ers also bolstered their defensive line by trading for Omenihu, who became a 49er on Tuesday when they acquired him from the Texans in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Omenihu (6-5, 280) brings some versatility to the defensive line and will have a role that is still to be determined.

"He's played on the edge," Ryans said. "He's played inside. We'll see where he thrives best for us and where he fits the best for us and wherever he can excel the most and showcases his talent that's where we'll put him."

It remains to be seen what kind of immediate impact the 49ers can get from Omenihu, but if nothing else, they've added a still-young lineman whose talent they're high on. Omenihu comes to the 49ers after totaling 40 tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles in 35 games with the Texans after being selected in Round 5 of the 2019 NFL Draft out of the University of Texas.

"We're excited to have him," Ryans said. "Excited to add a guy with his talent. I think it's a great player to add to our room. Very long player, instinctive guy who can make plays for us. So, Charles has been coming along, learning the scheme, picking up on everything pretty well. We'll see how much he advances, but I'm really happy and excited to be able to add a player of his quality at this point in the season."

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