San Francisco 49ers

49ers’ best draft fits: nose tackle

Meet four Sacramento-area football players in the NFL combine

Four Sacramento-area football players are among the 330 invitees to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. The combine is a weeklong showcase running through March 6, 2017, where the nation’s top college football athletes eligible for the NFL d
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Four Sacramento-area football players are among the 330 invitees to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. The combine is a weeklong showcase running through March 6, 2017, where the nation’s top college football athletes eligible for the NFL d

This item is part of a series on the positions the 49ers will look to fill in the upcoming draft and the players that are the best fits at those spots. Today's position:

Nose tackle or 1 technique

Description: This player can lineup directly across from the center or "tilted" off the center to the tight-end side of the field. The player has to be big and strong, but perhaps not as big as the Vince Wilfork archetype at the position. The Seahawks, for example, have gotten away with having lesser-known players at this position while saving their star power for other spots in the defense. The nose tackle has to be able to hold his ground on double teams, especially against the run. The player likely will come off the field on obvious passing downs, meaning that the 49ers probably won't use a high pick on the position.

Who's there now: The 49ers outbid three other teams to land 310-pound free agent Earl Mitchell, who is the presumed frontrunner at this spot. Mitchell never has played in this specific defense, though he is familiar to defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina from their time with the Texans. Quinton Dial probably would rather play one of the other defensive line spots, but he is an option here having played nose tackle in the past. So are Mike Purcell and perhaps Chris Jones. The 49ers' terrible 2016 defense improved a bit when Glenn Dorsey returned to the lineup as nose tackle: Dorsey remains a free agent and likely will not sign with another team until at least after the draft.

Need level: 4.3

Perfect fit: Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA. Vanderdoes is very powerful and, as he's dropped weight in recent months, has regained the athleticism he lost when a 2015 knee injury caused him to get as high as 345 pounds. Others: Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama; Larry Ogunjobi, UNC-Charlotte; Elijah Qualls, Washington.

From earlier:

Left defensive end

Strong-side linebacker

Former high school stars Jake Browning, Eddie Vanderdoes, Cameron Smith, Marcus Rios and Dano Graves take their games to the next level.

 

 

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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