LEO for Passing Downs
I’m of the belief that the 49ers don’t really have their LEO on the current roster, but rather they should look for some acquisitions. However, someone on the current roster would have to start Week 1 if no one else is there.
It’s important to note the “passing downs” distinction. Second-year pro Solomon Thomas has been already decided as the LEO in early downs, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic:
First, let’s look at the newcomer. Attaochu has been inconsistent for his entire career, his high count being six sacks in 2015. He was injured last year, playing in only four games last year. His 2017 PFF grade was 69.0. Attaochu brings considerable upside, but he’s new to the team and hasn’t played well in two years.
On the other hand is Marsh. Marsh has also been inconsistent in his career, although his last two years have been better. He has six career sacks which have come in the last two years. Marsh’s PFF grade was 48.9, considerably worse than Attaochu’s. These ratings have to be taken into context because Attaochu only played four games, while Marsh was doing pass coverage while with the New England Patriots.
Marsh has one thing going for him; the coaching staff is very high on his abilities. When asked why the 49ers didn’t draft a edge rusher, Shanahan had this to say (h/t Patrick Holloway of NinerNation):
"You’ve got to be pretty good to beat out [DL Cassius] Marsh. You’ve got to be pretty good to beat out [DL Arik] Armstead. You don’t just get guys. If you get them, someone else has got to get cut and we’ve got a pretty good group."
High praise indeed. This vote of confidence is a pretty large plus in Marsh’s favor
Who I think will start Week 1: Cassius Marsh