The closer the San Francisco 49ers get to the preseason, the more likely it seems that defensive ends Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner will be starting bookends now rather than later. There’s no denying these monsters will be a force together for seasons to come. Splitting them up only keeps them from working effectively as a two-man unit.
In the middle of the trenches, the 49ers are content to make defensive tackle Ian Williams (ankle) their starter of the future. He’s young, strong and has a great knowledge of the play book, when he’s healthy.
This offseason he signed a five-year extension to stay with the team until 2020. Due to an ankle injury, the contract was rescinded for a one-year deal.
Because of the extent of his injury, and the return of offensive tackle Anthony Davis, Williams’ current fate is to spend the entire 2016 NFL season on injured reserve. When he does comes back healthy, the job will be his to lose.
After that the veteran leadership consists of defensive linemen Glenn Dorsey, who is highly touted by the organization, Quinton Dial, who just signed a new contract, and Mike Purcell, who had a terrific preseason last year and will look to build on that in the coming weeks.
Defensive end Tony Jerrod-Eddie has provided solid depth for this team for four seasons. However, on a defensive front that has been completely revamped, it appears his spot has been taken by rookie defensive end Ronald Blair, who some feel is the steal of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Next: Jerome Simpson