There have been a lot of theories as to what the defensive line will look like for the 2015 San Francisco 49ers. The bad news is, many in the media are pessimistic due to the losses on a very steady unit from the past four seasons.
Justin Smith retired after his left shoulder, which gets the brunt of the contact playing on the right side of the line, “didn’t respond” the way he wanted it.
Ray McDonald was released and is now likely out of the league.
The good news is, there is a very deep group of promising young players poised to step in and make their mark.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee has suggested that Glenn Dorsey will take over for Justin Smith on the right side on base downs and will be replaced by Tank Carradine on nickel downs. He also believes Quinton Dial will start on the left side and standout nose tackle Ian Williams will resume his starting role in the middle.
This is a very plausible theory as Dorsey is very versatile and can play both end and tackle. Dial has good size and seems to be a good fit on the left side on base downs, especially against the run.
So where do the rest of the guys fit in and do any of them have a legitimate shot to start?