Arguably, the San Francisco 49ers entered the 2018 NFL draft with no greater need than a dynamic edge rusher.
And yet, when the three days were over, the Niners spent none of their nine picks on the position despite pre-draft time studying this year’s crop.
So, general manager John Lynch, what gives?nfl jerseys wholesale
“Those guys are difficult to find, first and foremost,” Lynch said. “We felt like there were a couple guys who had an opportunity to be special there. You know, just where we were, we didn’t have an opportunity or chose not to take them.”
That decision came as a bit of a surprise given the Niners’ struggles to consistently generate an outside pass rush. Sure, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner has been able to push the pocket, but without a dominant edge rusher at the “Leo” position, quarterbacks often have been able to sidestep Buckner and get rid of the ball.
In 2017, the 49ers finished tied for 26th in the NFL in sacks (30), and they have not had a player post more than 8.5 sacks in a season since 2012. In the past three seasons, the Niners have combined for 91 sacks, which is 29th in the NFL in that span.
Of course, identifying that as a problem hasn’t been an issue. Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh have all pointed out the need to improve at edge rusher. It’s fixing the problem that has been an issue.
Because of the value of the position, teams simply don’t let top edge rushers hit the free-agent market. Which means teams must look to the draft to find their man.
Last year, the Niners had the second pick, official nfl jerseys cheap but only Myles Garrett profiled as a true edge rusher worthy of that selection. He was the No. 1 pick in the draft to the Cleveland Browns.
This year, the 49ers didn’t have a pick until No. 9 and once again found themselves in pass-rusher no man’s land. North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb was the consensus best pass-rusher in the draft, and he went No. 5 to the Denver Broncos. The Niners could have drafted Texas San Antonio’s Marcus Davenport or Boston College’s Harold Landry, but both would have been considered a reach at No. 9.