Left Defensive End: Tank Carradine
Nose Tackle: Earl Mitchell
Right Defensive Tackle: DeForest Buckner
Right Defensive End/LEO: Arik Armstead
Reserves: Solomon Thomas, Elvis Dumervil, Pita Taumoepenu, D.J. Jones, Aaron Lynch
Defensive tackle Tank Carradine winds up getting the start to begin the season, but he’ll be passed over by rookie first-round draft pick Solomon Thomas at some point early this year.
Having Carradine, who should thrive in a 4-3 alignment, in a reserve role isn’t bad. It’s time for San Francisco to get something out of their former second-round investment from back in 2013.
The rest of the defensive line isn’t much of a shock. Earl Mitchell has looked excellent against the run at the nose position, and second-year pro DeForest Buckner will look to provide a solid interior pass rush from the right defensive tackle spot.
But the talk of the offseason, of course, was the LEO position to the right side of the D-line.
Arik Armstead wins out here in base downs, although there still could be some concerns about his ability to stop the run.
Getting an additional pass rush from reserves, like Elvis Dumervil and Aaron Lynch, certainly helps matters a lot.
Even with some of the cuts, this unit remains one of the deeper and most-talented groups the Niners have to offer.