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Moving Forward: 49ers defensive line should be stacked for 2014

Glenn Dorsey approaches Russell Wilson
Glenn Dorsey approaches Russell Wilson
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In continuing the 49ers position series, the defensive side of the trenches should have no problems heading into 2014.

Defensive Linemen under contract in 2014: Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, Glenn Dorsey, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Ray McDonald, Lawrence Okoye, Mike Purcell, Justin Smith, Christian Tupou, Ian Williams

Restricted Free agents: Demarcus Dobbs

Stability heading into next year: With no major free agents at this position, the 49ers will be able to keep everyone from last year on the roster. Justin Smith signed a contract extension last August, while everyone else is under contract.

Ian Williams will have a chance to be the starting NT again after being injured in Week 2 against the Seahawks. Competitio will be fierce with incumbent starter Glenn Dorsey taking the reigns and playing solid in his place. With Smith and Ray McDonald one year older, it wouldn't be surprising if their snap counts become reduced with more depth on the roster. Tony Jerod-Eddie did well as a part-time lineman after passing Demarcus Dobbs on the depth chart. The 49ers should be inserting the youth for the following season.

Fountain of Youth: The 49ers drafted two long-term projects in Carradine and Dial in 2013 and both are expected to play a role next year. Carradine was shut down for the entire 2013 season as he recovered from an ACL. He had a few games being on the 53-man roster but was inactive for all of them. Dial played a handful of snaps against the Tennessee Titans, but was also inactive for majority of the season. Both players are expected to develop this year and eventually transition as being inserted into the defensive line.

Lawrence Okoye, the 22-year old discus thrower remains as an interesting project who will continue to learn the game from coach Jim Tomsula.

Offseason outlook: It doesn't appear the 49ers will sign any notable free agents at this position, nor spend a high draft pick as they took Dial and Carradine last season. San Francisco believes Ian Williams will be the valuable NT in the longterm while Dial could be plugged in behind him. Carradine should get continuous reps as he will have a full offseason to practice and the 49ers can begin to rotate reserves along with starters.

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Moving Forward Series:

Tight Ends

Center

Wide Receiver

Quarterback

Running Backs