Heading into the 2017 NFL Draft the 49ers had many needs on their defense, but their biggest after the draft was the weakside defensive end which is so important to the new Seattle style 4-3 (Under) defense. It’s not that there isn’t talent along the defensive line but with DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas, San Francisco is loaded with power based interior pass rushers.
By signing Dumervil the 49ers get a different dynamic as they don’t have the explosive pass rusher off the edge. Last season the 49ers outside linebackers in their 3-4 defense totaled only 4.5 sacks all of last year. Guys like Aaron Lynch and Eli Harold were penciled into the Leo (weakside) end but didn’t enlist much optimism.
Is Elvis Dumervil going to be the final piece that is going to make this defense elite? No. Dumervil is coming off an injury filled year that only saw him play 272 snaps and total only 3 sacks. But he isn’t too far removed from a 17 sack season in 24 and playing in a limited pass rushing specialist role he could have enough left in the tank to be a stop gap before the 49ers grab an edge rusher in the 2018 draft.
Look for Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner to man the defensive end positions on early downs with Dumervil will likely come in an passing downs. A sub package defense that sees Armstead, Buckner, Thomas and Dumervil all coming after quarterback is a much improvement over what they had last year.