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Has Glenn Dorsey gotten a bad rap?

Al Sacco
Jun 4, 2013 at 5:54 PM4

Coming out of college at LSU, Glenn Dorsey was a dominant defensive lineman who entered the NFL with high expectations when the Kansas City Chiefs took him with the 5th pick of the 2008 draft. Dorsey was so dominant at the collegiate level he took home the Nagurski, Lombardi, Outland, and Lott Awards as a senior. He was seen as a player who could have a Warren Sapp like impact in the NFL.

"He's the best defensive tackle I have seen in the 13 years of watching the elite level of college football," said ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit.

Dorsey struggled to live up to his draft billing as a defensive end in the Chiefs' 3-4 scheme. He has been looked at as a disappointment so far in his young career because he has failed to make the kind of impact experts like Herbstreit said he would. But football experts are often wrong and the draft is an inexact science. It's possible Dorsey may have been too hyped up to begin with and was judged by an elevated standard he could never reach.


"While both (Sapp and Dorsey) have made a nice living off their explosive initial step, Dorsey does not have the same game-changing ability Sapp displayed during the prime of his career. Let's face it, Dorsey is a good sanitation man (takes out the trash by handling multiple blockers, thus freeing a teammate up to make the play), but if statistics tell the true story, he had just 13 sacks, 27 stops for losses and seven quarterback pressures in 51 collegiate games. While we follow the party line that he could develop into another Sapp, he could also be a clone of former LSU Tiger Anthony McFarland."

The above scouting report may have hit the nail on the head in regards to what Dorsey would be at the next level. He's not an explosive pass rusher or flashy player by any means. Instead, he's more of a workman like, grind it out type of guy who does the dirty work. Take 2012 for example. According to Pro Football Focus, in the four games he played, Dorsey ranked 2nd amongst defensive ends in run stop percentage (behind some person named Justin Smith). In 2011, that trend held true as Dorsey finished 6th in the same category. In contrast, he ranked 32nd out 37 in Pro Football Focus' Pass Rush Productivity Ranking in 2011 and dead last in 2010.

Based on the information above, Dorsey looks to be effective at eating blockers and stuffing the run, but he struggles at getting pressure on the quarterback. Those traits appear to translate perfectly for what the 49ers will look for Dorsey to be in the center of their defensive line. He won't be asked to rush the quarterback, but instead eat up blockers to free up other players. His play will help keep lineman off of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman so they can make plays. Can Dorsey handle that task at nose tackle? Well, consider the Chiefs have had three linebackers (Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston) make the pro bowl playing behind Dorsey (albeit a defensive end) he looks to fit the bill.

When you factor in that the 49ers did not address nose tackle in the draft or in free agency other than Dorsey, it speaks volumes for what they must think of the impact he can make at the position. The team did resign Ian Williams as well but he looks to be the primary backup as opposed to any kind of real competition. Under the guidance of defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, Dorsey could be a player who makes a major impact for the 49ers this season.
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.


  • niner
    49ers didnt address nt. we have 2 already on the roster and what is Dial out of Alabama? Dorsey will play end and do well. Alot of people forget that we dont play a traditional 3-4 and that under our sytem a guy named Justin Smith blossomed. Check out the early games ( before his injury) last year. He was a complete monster, remember the Giants said Alson doesnt get his sacks without Cowboy and guess what they proved it, and the playoffs confirmed it. Dorsey will be much more than a Soap part time space eater, just watch
    Jun 10, 2013 at 9:33 AM
    Response: I think Dial could be more of a Ricky Jean Francois in the sense that he will play all over the d-line (if he makes the team). I think Dorsey could surprise some people as well but his snaps may be limited. When they go a 4-3 I expect J. Smith and McDonald to still move inside.
  • Tyler Hills
    Actually Glenn Dorsey was drafted as a 4-3 DT by Herm Edwards and Carl Peterson. In his second year in the league the Chiefs changed to a 3-4 defense where he became a DE (5 Technique). His first year in the 3-4 they played around with him at NT, but he ultimately ended up as a 5T. In San Fransisco he will play up and down the line at all three spots. From what I have read he is expected to get up field on the QB more than 2-gaping like he did with the Chiefs. Some say he will play a Jay Ratliff like role from years past in Dallas.
    Jun 6, 2013 at 7:40 AM
  • dave
    Put him next to the Smith Bros, Ray Mac & Brooks and backed up by Willis & Bowman and he will be a it.
    Jun 4, 2013 at 10:33 PM
  • Mike Kenney
    The 9ers are becoming an oasis, where prize athletes can rediscover what made them great. It isn't just the coaching up at which the staff is superb, it's scheme. Square pegs in square holes and fool the opposing coordinator while you're at it. Nmaandi, the 2011 edition of Rogers(he may return), Its a recurring story
    Jun 4, 2013 at 6:24 PM

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