Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports


2018 NFL Draft: No Pass-Rusher, “No Rings”

Sequoia Sims
Mar 22, 2018 at 7:51 PM


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As the NFL draft steadily approaches, many experts are projecting what the 49ers will do with their ninth-overall selection come April 26th.


Since the new regime of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have taken over the keys to the franchise in Santa Clara, they've done a great job at addressing the team's football needs.

Between the draft, trade or via free agency, the 49ers' front office has added some key foundational pieces; a franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, offensive weapons (OW) in FB/TE Kyle Juszczyk and RB/WR Jerick McKinnon.

The 49ers also added a speedy receiver in Marquise Goodwin, an athletic center in Weston Richburg, dynamic LB Reuben Foster (working on himself), DL Solomon Thomas (untapped potential), All-Pro/Pro-Bowl caliber CB in Richard Sherman (with a clean red suit), CB Ahkello Witherspoon (poised to take the next step), a starting-caliber tight end in George Kittle (caught a pass in every game last season), and slot receiver Trent Taylor (human joystick).

There's still a piece to this puzzle that's missing


Let's play 49er trivia, shall we? When was the last time the 49ers had double-digit sack leaders? You'll have to play back the tape to former 49er and ex-Oakland Raider Aldon Smith (2012, 19.5 sacks), and Andre Carter (2002, 12.5 sacks).

Notice there's a ten-year gap between the two pass rushers who were originally drafted by the 49ers.

The 49ers are currently on a six-year drought for a double-digit sack leader. Elvis Dumervil, who was released by the 49ers recently, led the team last season with 6.5 sacks.

Lynch has the means and the power to break this cycle and trend.

The NFC West has franchise caliber quarterbacks


The Seattle Seahawks have a Super Bowl-winning quarterback named Russell Wilson, who is an escape artist by hidden trade. Is anyone planning to take him down anytime soon? No pass-rusher, "no rings."

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff was one of the least sacked (just 25 times) quarterbacks in the NFL last season as he sat in the pocket and counted to one thousand Mississippis while leading the highest scoring (29.9 ppg) offense and making defenses look silly with his plethora of weapons.

Anyone planning on stopping him? No pass-rusher, "no rings."

And look for the Arizona Cardinals to draft a quarterback at some point in the draft next month.

NFC conference quarterbacks at a glance


The Philadelphia Eagles (reigning Super Bowl champs) have a young franchise quarterback named Carson Wentz returning soon from injury. Enter Carolina Panthers quarterback (still in his prime) Cam Newton, who's big, strong, and fast. Newton has owned the 49ers lately.

Both quarterbacks are big, strong, mobile, and hard to bring down. Forget pressure; these two need to be taken to the ground with extreme violence. No pass-rusher, "no rings."

The Green Bay Packers have a quarterback by the name of Aaron Rogers, who is a former MVP and Super Bowl champion. He can pick a defense apart if you can't apply extremely violent pressure and sack him to the turf. No pass-rusher, "no rings."

What's behind draft door No. 9?


Back in early March, I wrote an article on Niners Live entitled: What's behind draft door No. 9? Pass-Rusher? Cornerback? Or Guard? The 49ers very well could trade back and collect more picks.

However, if they were to stay put at the ninth-overall pick in the first round, I decided to select Harold Landry, the OLB from Boston College. The 6-3, 250-pound, 21-year-old senior (PFF grade of 83.9) is a pure pass-rusher with an extremely quick first step, playmaking ability, and a high motor (as seen in his video highlights).

Pro Football Focus also agrees with the selection of Landry. Regardless of which pass-rusher the 49ers elect to take, he needs to be an impact rusher from day one. No pass-rusher, "no rings."

2018 NFL Draft: No Pass-Rusher, "No Rings"


New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady won the 2017 NFL MVP award prior to facing off against the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Brady carved up the Eagles' defense by throwing for over 500 yards and three touchdowns.

And right when you thought Brady was going to make a historic comeback, what happened? He was sacked by a pass-rusher by the name of Brandon Graham who had 9.5 sacks in the regular season and a sack in the Super Bowl when it mattered the most. No pass-rusher, "no rings."

Newton won the MVP award in 2015. That season he met up with a Denver Broncos defense in the Super Bowl led by pass-rusher Von Miller. The results? Total domination. The Broncos won 24-10. Newton was sacked seven times (2.5 coming from Miller). No pass-rusher, "no rings."

Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning won the MVP award in 2013. That season, he met up with a Seahawks defense in the Super Bowl, led by a committee of pass rushers (44 sacks in 2013. In 2017, the 49ers had 30 total sacks as a defense).

The results? Total annihilation as the Broncos lost 43-8. Manning was sacked once, one fumble lost, was hit five times and pressured all game long which forced him to throw two interceptions. No pass-rusher, "no rings."

Recent Niners Live article alerts: Richard Sherman, "The new leader of the Legion of Red and Gold." and Adrian Colbert vs Jimmie Ward; Who starts at Free Safety?

The 49ers are a five-time Super Bowl winning franchise that stocks their trophy cases with gold hardware. No pass-rusher, "no rings." To be continued...

Sequoia Sims: Founder of Niners Live, Content Creator, player breakdown specialist, and Senior Author. The home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, and different perspective, of course.
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.


2 Comments

  • Mako1969
    This is why I believe that the 49ers should seriously think about trying to move up for Bradley Chubb. If the first three players off the board are QB's, and CLE takes Barkley at no. 4, then the cost to move from 9 to 5 would be worth it. To put it in perspective, imagine a draft where the 49ers got Steve Young and Charles Haley together. That would be an A draft irrespective of whomever else they selected, or didn't. They have the first piece in Garopollo, now it's time to get the second.
    Mar 25, 2018 at 11:05 PM
    1
  • coastal dave
    Amen Brother! I've had my eye on Landry at # 9 for the Niners. I gotta feelin' about this guy. His tape is prototypical speed/bend rusher.
    Mar 23, 2018 at 8:30 AM
    1


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