The 49ers have one of the best defensive lines in football entering 2020, thanks largely the the hopefully seamless transition from now-Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to Javon Kinlaw, along with the edge-rushing prowess of Nick Bosa and Dee Ford.
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But the depth, particularly along the interior, could use some help. Especially considering the Niners aren’t picking up the fifth-year option on another former first-round draftee, defensive end Solomon Thomas.
Thomas has been a bust so far, yes. Yet he’s emerged as a decent run stopper and quality backup behind San Francisco’s well-known starters.
Fortunately run-stopping interior defenders are pretty easy to find, and there should be a number of these kinds of players late in the 2021 NFL Draft.
One to watch would be BYU defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga, whose massive 6-foot-4, 321-pound frame can eat up space along the inside of the defensive formation.
Tonga has a little bit of an interior pass rush, too, registering five sacks over his three-year collegiate career. Yet his best value would be in 1- and 3-technique positions where he could look to overpower interior offensive linemen looking to establish the run.