This position is already giving Kyle Shanahan, 49ers nightmares for 2024

The interior defensive line could be a problem for the 49ers again in 2024.
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers Practice
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers Practice / Chris Unger/GettyImages

The San Francisco 49ers struggled with their defensive line in 2023. While the team made some additions in the offseason, their defensive line may still be a big problem in 2024 that will give head coach Kyle Shanahan nightmares.

Last season, the defensive line struggled as the season went on. The Niners played without Arik Armstead for much of that stretch which was a big factor, but even with him back for the postseason, the team gave up a lot of yardage on the ground.

Now, Armstead is gone. His replacement figures to be Maliek Collins, whom the team acquired from the Houston Texans via trade. They will also have Javon Hargrave who the team signed in free agency prior to the 2023 season.

The Niners probably feel good about their edge rushers going into next season. Nick Bosa is the most elite rusher in the game, and their big free-agent acquisition, edge rusher Leonard Floyd, has a solid track record in the NFL.

They made some depth acquisitions on the defensive line in the offseason as well, signing Yetur Gross-Matos and Jordan Elliott. It seems that they are opting for a quantity over quality approach, which may come back to bite them.

Hargrave had a bit of a disappointing 2023 for the Niners especially considering the hefty four-year, $84 million deal they gave him. Some even considered it the worst free-agent signing of last offseason given his somewhat underwhelming performance.

Collins has a solid track record in the NFL, but we will have to wait and see if he is good at stopping the run when he puts on a Niners uniform. That was the key weakness for the defensive line last season, so it is something they have to improve on.

It is also important to consider how skilled new defensive coordinator Nick Sorensen will be at fixing these issues. Sorensen's experience in coaching has focused mainly on the secondary and a little bit on the linebacker group. We will have to see if he can fix issues on the defensive line as they arrive.

The Niners do not have too many glaring weaknesses on their roster. The defensive line cannot be considered a weakness, but the interior of that line may give Shanahan some nightmares if it is a repeat of last year's inconsistency.

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