At 6-1 and round 300 pounds, Glenn Dorsey has been widely viewed as a misfit in a 3-4 base defense. The Kansas City Chiefs took him with their fifth overall pick back in 2008 and would plug him in at end for most of his time there, but Dorsey never quite justified the investment in that role.
This is not to say that Dorsey wasn’t good lineman and worthy starter in this league. Dorsey consistently ranked among the best in the league among 3-4 defensive ends in Pro Football Focus run-stopping grades and now gives the San Francisco 49ers a versatile piece that will ostensibly be used at both nose tackle and end, given an unproven Ian Williams at the nose and stellar ends in Justin Smith and Ray McDonald. However, some feel Dorsey is not a fit for the nose.
“The most logical response is Ian Williams — mostly because he has the size to do it,” wrote CBS Sports’ Clark Judge. “If for some reason he doesn’t make it, the 49ers’ next option may be newcomer Glenn Dorsey, but he’s undersized for the position, as Kansas City found out.”
I don’t know if that is entirely fair given that Dorsey’ was never really played 3-4 nose tackle for a meaningful amount of snaps. Dorsey had tough rookie year at tackle but that was in a 4-3 and as a rookie. Plus, San Fran uses NT a majority of the time and can most often be found in nickel package. I think Niners defensive coordinator Vic Fangio‘s timing and Dorsey’s size and strength can make this work in limited action. Having Smith and McDonald on either side certainly helps as well.
Dorsey has already taken to position coach in San Fran, Jim Tomsula, and thrilled to be utilized in diverse ways. Dorsey is somewhat of a tweener between NT and DE in a 3-4 front, and perhaps the 49ers scheme and surrounding personnel could make the best of his skills.
“I like the defensive scheme and up front, I’m going to play everywhere – inside and outside,” Dorsey said, via the team webiste. “I’m just going to do whatever they ask me to do and do it the best I could. I like the scheme. They throw a lot of things at you, a lot of mix-up and stuff like that. It’s fun.”