MIKE: Fred Warner
WILL: Anthony Barr
SAM: Josh Allen (rookie)
OK, 49ers NFL Draft pundits. You get your pick here, and it’s Kentucky pass-rusher Josh Allen.
Allen isn’t a prototypical LEO edge rusher, and he typically lines up on the strong side of the defensive formation, as the Sacramento Bee’s Chris Biderman pointed out:
The good thing, though, is Allen can line up all over the front seven. So it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Niners rush him from the weak side in various formations. And remember, Robert Saleh’s 4-3 Under places the SAM linebacker up towards the line of scrimmage.
Allen could easily be San Francisco’s pick at No. 2 overall in April’s draft.
But the 49ers aren’t done there. They already have a solid middle linebacker in Fred Warner, who impressed over the second half of 2018. That’s a cornerstone piece. But with some money to spend in NFL free agency, it wouldn’t be a shock to try targeting Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr.
Barr won’t come cheap. But he’s 27 years old, and Pro Football Focus (Cleveland.com) graded him out with a 71.4 mark, which is much better than anything the Niners had last season.
Oh, and Barr played the playmaking WILL spot in Minnesota’s stout defense, too.