49ers roster: Grading each position after first 4 weeks of 2021
By Peter Panacy
49ers Defensive Line: B
From a defensive standpoint, the Niners defensive line has again reverted to being the team’s primary strength through four weeks.
Inconsistent at times, particularly in a one-sack game against the Packers in Week 3 despite Green Bay boasting a third-string left tackle and a makeshift offensive front, the pass-rushing duo of EDGEs Nick Bosa and Dee Ford are finally generating the kind of results on a regular basis envisioned when both were acquired in 2019.
The two have combined for seven sacks this season, Bosa having four of them, while defensive tackle Arik Armstead is Pro Football Focus’ top-graded San Francisco defender with 84.6 mark despite having just one sack of his own this season.
A notable liability, though, has been the 49ers run defense, which currently ranks 20th with opponents averaging 4.5 yards per carry, many of those coming between the tackles against the Wide-9 alignment this unit uses. As is the case with DeMeco Ryans needing to do a better job with his linebackers, the D-line also has to bear some responsibility here, too.
Having second-year pro defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw in the lineup helps matters a lot, but he’s also been dealing with a knee injury.
Perhaps the veteran, Maurice Hurts, will make a big impact in Quarter 2 after missing the first three games of the year with an injury.