San Francisco 49ers: 10 Dark-Horse Candidates to Make the 53-Man Roster in 2016
By Peter Panacy
No. 2: Defensive Lineman Darren Lake
SEC defenders are typically known for making big splashes at the NFL level, and former Alabama defensive lineman Darren Lake is an intriguing prospect who could be listed in this category.
Lake, an undrafted free-agent signing by the 49ers this offseason, has a long way to go to ensure a roster spot.
The defensive line is one of depth for San Francisco. With defensive ends Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner not going anywhere, and fellow linemen Ian Williams, Quinton Dial, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Glenn Dorsey, Ronald Blair and Mike Purcell also in the mix, among others, Lake’s chances appear to be pretty slim.
But there isn’t much doubt about the 6-foot-3, 315-pound lineman’s abilities. For what it’s worth, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee shared a video showcasing Lake’s strength, as well as those of Buckner and Blair, from last May:
Despite the depth, there are a few things to consider.
Both Williams (ankle) and Dorsey (knee) are recovering from injuries and subsequent procedures. Their status for Week 1 of the regular season remains in doubt, so the door is open for Lake to secure a roster spot.
Not known for any pass-rushing abilities — he had zero sacks and only one tackle for a loss over four years at Alabama — Lake would probably fit the bill as a run-stuffing nose tackle at the pro level.
So keep an eye on Williams and Dorsey’s recovery process. If neither player is able to go, Lake could wind up getting a roster spot to start the season.
Next: No. 1: Devon Cajuste