49ers undergo D-line remodel in first week of free agency

49ers undergo D-line remodel in first week of free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The 49ers remade their defensive line during the first week of the new NFL league year.

San Francisco released defensive tackle Arik Armstead. Then, they brought in four veteran players to fill holes in the defensive line rotation.

And there still is some work to do for general manager John Lynch to provide upgrades for a defense that had the league’s best scoring defense in 2022 and ranked second in fewest yards allowed.

In the one and only year for defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, the 49ers dropped to No. 3 in points allowed and No. 8 in total yards.

Here is how the remodeled defensive looks after free agency has slowed and all attention shifts toward next month’s NFL Draft:

Defensive end

Starters: Nick Bosa, Leonard Floyd

Depth: Yetur Gross-Matos, Drake Jackson, Robert Beal, Austin Bryant, Raymond Johnson, Ernest Brown

Overview: The 49ers have tried to find an above-average edge rusher to line up opposite of Bosa since his rookie season of 2019. Floyd is their latest attempt to solve that issue.

Floyd is known for playing with effort, something that showed up as an issue for Chase Young in the NFC Championship Game. Floyd averaged close to 10 sacks per season over the past four years. The 49ers will take that kind of production after Young managed just 3.5 sacks in 12 games, including the postseason.

Gross-Matos likely is to serve as an edge as part of the team’s D-line rotation. He also has the ability to move inside and rush the passer in nickel situations. The 49ers expect to get more production from recent draft picks Jackson and Beal. They also could address this position as early as with their pick at No. 31 overall.

Defensive tackle

Starters: Javon Hargrave, Maliek Collins or Jordan Elliott

Depth: Kevin Givens, Kalia Davis, T.Y. McGill, Alex Barrett, Sam Okuayinonu, Spencer Waege

Overview: Armstead, the longest-tenured player on the 49ers, no longer is around….


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