Having won back to back BCS National Championships with Alabama, Quinton Dial understands what it takes to play for a team that demands and expects to win.
And playing with a team that expects greatness is something he will get to experience now in the first few seasons as an NFL player as he was drafted with the 157th overall pick (fifth round) by the San Francisco 49ers. Although the 49ers signed a player like Glenn Dorsey in the offseason to help fill the loss of Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois to free agency, the need to add depth at the defensive line position through the draft was necessary.
Dial certainly fits the mold and the type of player you want playing defensive end in a 3-4 defense. At 6-foot-5, 318 pounds, Dial can be the prototypical run stuffing nose tackle like a Vince Wilfork. While in college he played the defensive end position at times as well.
During organized team activities (OTAs), Dial was limited in the amount of work he was able to engage in given he had toe surgery right after his final college game back in January. While this serves as a setback for Dial in terms of where he stands on the defensive line depth chart, it is far from affecting his ability to climb up the depth chart with a good training camp.
The biggest challenge facing Dial will be the number of defensive line players he will be competing against in camp for reps and playing time. While the 49ers did lose Sopoaga and Francois to free agency, the drafting of Tank Carradine and signing of Lawrence Okoye to go along with other defensive linemen on the roster mean Dial has work to do.
Assuming that Dial does beat out players already on the defensive line depth chart, which he should, he then will run into the issue of potentially getting very little playing time. As we saw last year, a player rookie player like Dial may make the 53 man roster but as a result of numbers, could very well be one of the inactive players each week.
That said, if Dial is an active player during games, he can serve as a player who can come in and give the likes of Justin Smith and Ray McDonald some plays off. Doing so would be of big benefit to the 49ers given these two either had a late season injury and or were worn down at the end of the season. In addition, Dial would give Vic Fangio another player to use in mixing and matching personnel if he chooses.