49ers Defensive Line
Lock: Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Javon Kinlaw, Kemoko Turay, Hassan Ridgeway, Drake Jackson*
Strong Bubble: Samson Ebukam, Kevin Givens, Maurice Hurst, Kerry Hyder Jr., Charles Omenihu, Jordan Willis
Weak Bubble: Alex Barrett, Kalia Davis*
Long Shot: Dee Ford, Kevin Atkins*
If there’s one thing we know about the Niners’ modus operandi, it’s they’ll use premium draft picks to reinforce the trenches, doing so again in 2022 by grabbing former USC EDGE Drake Jackson.
San Francisco will need a complementary outside pass-rusher to pair with Nick Bosa, especially with the seemingly inevitable farewell bidding for EDGE Dee Ford, who’s poised to be a post-June 1 cut amid three injury-plagued seasons.
However, it’s not too hard to see just how tight a competition this group will have this offseason, if for no other reason than the sheer number of bodies present.
EDGE Samson Ebukam could be a cap casualty, too, particularly in the wake of the free-agent pickup of former Indianapolis Colts pass-rusher Kemoko Turay. Both Turay and defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway both carry $1 million apiece in guaranteed money, so they appear to be locks, while nose tackles Kevin Givens, Maurice Hurst and the sixth-round draftee, UCF’s Kalia Davis, can hopefully alleviate the free-agent loss of D.J. Jones.
Davis, coming off a torn ACL suffered last season, might not be 100 percent by training camp, though, landing on the weaker side of the bubble for now. Consider him a candidate for the physically unable-to-perform (PUP) list.