No. 5: EDGE Elvis Dumervil
Yes, San Francisco’s most recent free-agent acquisition already has worked his way up to No. 5 on this list.
San Francisco 49ers
Edge rusher Elvis Dumervil is going to be of extreme importance to the 49ers pass rush, and defense, in 2017. The reason is simple — San Francisco doesn’t have a clear-cut answer at EDGE this season. EDGE Aaron Lynch showed up to camp overweight and is coming off a 1.5-sack campaign. And defensive end Arik Armstead isn’t exactly a prototypical fit either.
Hence the reason why the 49ers brought Dumervil aboard.
At 33 years old, the Niners hope Dumervil has enough of the proverbial “gas in the tank” left to make a serious impact. He is currently sitting on 99 sacks, and San Francisco will need him to get a bunch more.
Another reason why he’s so high on this list is simply Football 101. A team’s secondary, and its pass defense overall, is only as good as the pass rush allows it. Quarterbacks will eventually find a target if they have more than enough time to operate in the pocket.
It’s Dumervil’s job to throw off that timing and make sure the 49ers defensive backs aren’t exposed.
He won’t be an every-down player. But the Niners are counting on him to make an immediate contribution right away.