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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Another Great Reason Why 49ers Fans Need to Trust the Process

Apr 14, 2022 at 9:36 PM--

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Well, the 49ers organization produced again, signing a quality, plug-and-play defensive end in Kemoko Turay. Once more, patience wins the day for a front office that makes these types of deals time and time again. It isn't a splashy move, but it works.

Adding Turay's upside to an already solid pass rush should pay dividends. His 5.5 sacks would have ranked fourth on the team last season behind Nick Bosa, Arden Key and Arik Armstead. If Kris Kocurek can twirl his magic wand again and produce a better player out of Turay, the defensive line could rocket to the top of the league very quickly.

This does bring up an interesting discussion, however. Various outlets blasted John Lynch and company for letting Arden Key walk. They cited Jimmy Garoppolo's bloated contract as the major issue for their inability to sign Key to a lucrative deal. Dee Ford's name slipped into the discussion as well. Some pundits went to the furthest ends to proclaim Lynch's ineptitude in the matter.

Well, apparently, the 49ers never really considered signing Key as an option. They have their own ideas when it comes to constructing the defensive line.

They've made their living developing players who never reached their draft-day potential. In the end, they have a solid pass rusher. Turay fits the mold beautifully in fulfilling that philosophy. Key doesn't anymore.

This really is a brilliant tactic. The 49ers get players with massive upside who they develop into solid complementary pass-rushers, and, in return, those players discover their evasive potential and find another team who needs their developed sense of sniffing out quarterbacks. Simply put, they make their money. It's the quintessential "win, win scenario" for everyone involved.

Of course, all this hinges on what kind of money Turay will receive and how he develops under Kocurek. However, if this all plays out as history tells us, his contract smacks of a team-friendly deal with incentives, the greatest incentive being a chance to develop under Kocurek, one of the foremost defensive line coaches in the league. This front office has proven its patience in these matters, and that patience has paid dividends.

However, critics have little patience. Like clockwork, the perpetually negative pundits strove to gum up the works as best they could, accusing the front office of ineptitude because they couldn't sign a departing player. In their minds, Key was the key (pun intended) to a fierce pass rush and signing him was the only option.

Once again, that isn't how the 49ers roll and only shows how desperate some pundits are to capture attention. As the narrative ran wild, so did emotions rather than facts. The fact is with Bosa, Samson Ebukam, Jordan Willis and Charles Omenihu already on the roster, they've added Kerry Hyder Jr., their developmental player from 2020, and now Turay, to round out a pass rush that should rank near the top this coming season.

If Turay develops and Hyder discovers that fire that burned a season ago, the 49ers may have struck gold at a reasonable price point. Add a quality backup through the draft, and there's no telling what this team may accomplish this season.

The point is that Key didn't fit into that philosophy. He made his money. It's time to let him go and move on. Trust the process. The 49ers certainly have as they have done so in the past.

However, the 49ers may have grander visions in mind this season. With such an emphasis on securing quality players for their defensive line at bargain prices, this organization may try to reproduce the success they had in 2019. That season Armstead (10 sacks), Bosa (9 sacks), DeForest Buckner (7.5 sacks) and Dee Ford (6.5 sacks) led a defensive line effort unseen by a 49ers front in over two decades per They certainly have the talent to do so this year.

Could this effort lead to that kind of production? Only time will tell. There are no guarantees Turay will develop as Hyder and Key did, so this may simply be much ado about nothing. Turay had a history of injury during the middle portion of his career which is troubling. Adding defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw to the situation complicates things as well. If he fails to take a Buckner-type leap on the interior line this season or, even worse, ends up injured again, this could turn into a very long season, indeed.

The fact is injuries happen. What the front office has done accumulating assets for the defensive line this year is nothing short of extraordinary and should produce solid results and a chance at another run at the playoffs this year.

Who knows? If precedence holds up, this may be a record-setting season for the defensive line. We can only hope and trust the process.
  • Written by:
    Bill has written for a wide variety of online publications, ranging in topics from academics and education to life management and public speaking. He has also written for regional publications. However, one burning passion drives him more than most others: his obsessive loyalty to the 49ers franchise. Practically born into it, he bleeds red and gold. He also enjoys public speaking and talking about himself in the third person.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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