This item is part of 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:
Defensive end or five technique.
Description: This is the position that lines up next to the strong-side linebacker, usually on the left side of the defensive line. It’s also called the five-technique, meaning that the player usually lines up just outside the opposition’s right tackle. Because he’s on the strong side of the formation, the player has to be big and strong enough to stop the run and often is in charge of two gaps when it comes to run defense. The five-technique player in Seattle’s system — indeed, perhaps the most prominent five technique in the NFC — is Michael Bennett, who is 6-4, 275 pounds. In 2015, Bennett’s most recent full season, he led the Seahawks with 10 sacks, showing that the position is not merely a run-stuffing role.
Who’s there now: The 49ers have penciled in Arik Armstead and Ronald Blair at the position, although there are likely to be changes when practices begin. At 6-7 and just a bit shy of 300 pounds, Armstead is far bigger than Bennett with whom he trains in the offseason. But he moves well for his size and should be well-suited for the position. His brother, Armond, often lined up at this spot at USC, which used the same defense San Francisco will use this year. The 49ers seemingly have good depth at this spot as DeForest Buckner and Quinton Dial also might be good fits.
Need level: 2.3
Perfect fit: Solomon Thomas, Stanford. He has the combination of strength, quickness and good hands an ideal five technique must have, although his best work in college came against guards and centers, not offensive tackles. Others: Malik McDowell, Michigan State; Chris Wormley, Michigan; DeMarcus Walker, Florida State; Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova
* Strong-side linebacker