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Moving Forward: 49ers OLBs are locked and loaded

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One position which will remain stable for the 2014 season is the outside linebacker position on the 49ers. Here is the rundown of the outside linebackers in San Francisco for next season:

Under Contract in 2014: Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Corey Lemonier, Dan Skuta

Free Agents: None

Overview: The 49ers can rotate the outside linebackers in certain situations. With both Skuta and Lemonier getting a year of experience under their belts with Vic Fangio's system, it wouldn't be surprising to see them get more playing time.

In previous seasons under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers would have only three outside linebackers, but this position is one of the most stacked. When Aldon Smith served a suspension for five games, Skuta filled the role as the all-purpose OLB while Ahmad Brooks became the primary pass rusher. Lemonier proved to be a decent pass rushing specialist for a handful of snaps, but didn't see the field once Smith returned.

Outlook: Fangio tends to stick to the starters on defense with minimal substitutions. Lemonier was mostly on special teams while Skuta was the primary backup OLB. Will the reserves get more playing time or will Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks continue to dominate the entire game? How will Lemonier be utilized in his sophomore season?

Possible additions?

The 49ers could draft a versatile linebacker who can play both inside and outside in May. There should be one or two additions when the team has 90 players on the roster. San Francisco initially stocked up on OLBs, but then traded Parys Haralson and Cam Johnson to the Saints and Colts for seventh round draft picks in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

If the 49ers take an OLB, they would expect him to contribute mostly on special teams and have a "Swiss Army Knife" ability to play multiple positions. Otherwise, the outside linebackers will be set for next year.


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