John Lynch on Thursday confirmed that new 49ers defensive lineman Earl Mitchell will play nose tackle but that roles for former first-round picks Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner still are being worked out.
One of them likely will play the so-called “three technique,” the defensive lineman who lines up between the opposing guard and tackle. In the 49ers’ new scheme, that position usually goes to the team’s best pass-rushing interior lineman.
“We’re still talking about that with our coordinators, with our defensive staff,” Lynch said. “Because we think that each can do it, and I think they will at times. Who’s going to be there in base (defense)? I don’t think we’re there yet.”
Lynch stressed that because nickel defenses and various packages are so prevalent, everyone will have opportunities to play. He said the 49ers’ personnel is a good fit for the 4-3 defense – which has many characteristics of a 3-4 – that coordinator Robert Saleh will run this coming season.
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“One thing that I really appreciate about the job (former general manager) Trent (Baalke) did is he got players who, although they played the 3-4, I think they have scheme versatility to what they do,” Lynch said.
Lynch said he liked Mitchell, 29, not just because of his run-stopping ability but because of the effect he’ll have on his younger teammates.
“I’m excited about what he’s going to do for Buckner and Armstead and those guys,” he said. “Because we can tell people, ‘Run to the football,’ but when one guy’s doing it, you’d better do it or you’re going to stick out like a sore thumb. That’s what he brings.”
Raiders rivalry renewed? – Told that Raiders coach Jack Del Rio wants to renew his team’s preseason series with the 49ers, Lynch said, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
The teams haven’t faced each other in the preseason since 2011, when fan violence – two people were shot – marred a game at Candlestick Park.
“We can get over that,” Lynch said. “If we can present that in the right way, I think that’s good for the league, it’s good for the community. I’m a big fan of Jack’s – big fan of their roster and what they’ve done with it.”
The 49ers and Raiders last met in the regular season in 2014, when Oakland won 24-13 at the Coliseum.
Players could re-sign – The 49ers signed two would-be free agents late last season, tight end Vance McDonald and linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong, to contract extensions. Several other 49ers, including 2016 leading receiver Jeremy Kerley and kicker Phil Dawson, are scheduled to become free agents next week.
Lynch said there were ongoing “discussions” with some of those pending free agents.
“Hopefully we see some things in the next couple of days,” he said.