Having lost Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois to free agency and with Justin Smith getting up in age and having been injured late last season, it was imperative the San Francisco 49ers draft a defensive lineman. With one of their picks in the second round of the past NFL Draft, the 49ers drafted defensive lineman Tank Carradine.
Carradine saw his senior season at Florida State cut short because of an ACL injury. Despite that fact, what he displayed in his days as a Seminole was that he was a player who had a nose for rushing and getting to the opposing quarterback.
During rookie and full squad organized team activities (OTAs), news about Carradine has been non-existent as compared to fellow rookie Marcus Lattimore who is also working back from knee ligament injury.
The non-mention of Carradine is good news for 49ers fans who should assume that he is rehabbing and on schedule to make a full return and realistically expect that he should be ready to contribute and play at the start of the 2013 season.
As to what to expect from Carradine looking ahead to the start of the season, Carradine is most likely to be a situational player with the ability to be a three-down player depending on how he plays early on. Carradine’s pass rushing skills are just as equal to if not better than those of guys like Dion Jordan and Ziggy Ansah, who were taken with two of the top five picks.
Carradine’s presence should immediately help a defense who suffered struggled to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks late in the season and as a result, allowed teams to target and take away Aldon Smith as a threat.
While many were scared away from Carradine because of his injury, the 49ers were not and instead, decided to focus on his pass rushing ability when they drafted him in the second round. Carradine’s skill set and ability to get to the quarterback could help the 49ers be better defensively as a result of making teams have to worry about two legitimate pass rushing threats in the front seven.
We will see in training camp if Carradine is ready to go and if so, if he will be in position to show that the 49ers got themselves a steal in the draft.