A convergence of newcomers and mending players has given the 49ers some robust late-season competition along their defensive line.
“The D-line is starting to get healthy, so there’s going to be some healthy scratches,” defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said Thursday. “And it’s going to be (a matter of) who’s able to perform during the week. And it is a constant competition.”
Among the players coming back from injury are first-round draft pick Solomon Thomas, Aaron Lynch and Tank Carradine, who went on injured reserve in September with a high ankle sprain.
Saleh said the 49ers will evaluate Carradine during the week and that if he looks like he did at the start of the season he will be removed from injured reserve. If that’s the case, the 49ers would have to clear a roster spot.
“That’s going to go all the way through Sunday and we’ll see how he feels,” Saleh said. “If he’s ready, he’s going to roll. If he’s not, then we’ll wait a week.”
In addition, the 49ers picked up two defensive linemen this week, Sheldon Day and Cassius Marsh, who have experience in the same defensive system San Francisco uses and because of that could be up to speed quickly enough to contribute against the Seahawks on Sunday.
Day was on the same Jacksonville Jaguars team Saleh was a part of last year. He will back up DeForest Buckner at defensive tackle.
Marsh, meanwhile, took part in Thursday’s practice where he mostly lined up at the “Leo” defensive end spot. Marsh spent three seasons in Seattle before being traded to the New England Patriots in September.
He, Thomas, Lynch, Elvis Dumervil and Ronald Blair are in the mix to line up at Leo in the upcoming game.
“You watch him and he’s relentless. He does not stop,” Saleh said of Marsh. “He’s the definition of all gas, no brakes.”
Et cetera – Rookie safety Adrian Colbert (thumb) was the only 49er who did not practice Thursday. Saleh said there’s a three-way competition among Antone Exum, Dexter McCoil and Leon Hall to start at free safety in the likely event Colbert cannot play.
▪ Thomas (knee), running back Raheem Mostert (shoulder) and receiver Trent Taylor (ribs) were limited. Thomas sprained his MCL in Week 8 and is wearing a brace on his left knee.
▪ Tight end George Kittle, who was limited Wednesday with an ankle injury, was full-go in Thursday’s practice.