Nose Tackle Mike Purcell
The loss of nose tackle Ian Williams for the entirety of 2016 hurts the 49ers defense, but perennial backup Mike Purcell seems to be one of the beneficiaries of this.
Purcell has been receiving most of the first-team reps in camp, per David Fucillo of Niners Nation, and he seems to be going from a bubble-watch player to a guy who may wind up starting in base formations at the nose position.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee wrote, “Purcell appears far ahead in the competition at nose tackle,” which likely means the 49ers aren’t convinced just yet fellow defensive lineman Quinton Dial will be slated there.
And with veteran defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (ACL) still rehabbing from injury, the job looks to be Purcell’s to lose.
Purcell is clearly better against the run, so don’t expect him to get a lot of snaps in obvious passing downs. But with the 49ers struggling last year in sub packages against opponents’ running games, it wouldn’t be overly surprising to see Purcell get some preseason looks here to determine whether or not he can handle the challenges faced in the regular season.
Next: Defensive Tackle Quinton Dial