2013 NFL Breakout Candidate: San Francisco 49ers Glenn Dorsey

Glenn Dorsey San Francisco 49ers

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, things do not workout for whatever reason for a player at a certain team and it is best for them that in order to achieve and be productive, a change of scenery is more than needed. That’s the situation that Glenn Dorsey finds himself in now as after five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, he left and signed as a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers.

Dorsey was the fifth overall selection of the Chiefs in the 2008 NFL Draft. After a relatively successful rookie season where he played in a 4-3 defensive formation, the following year saw the first bit of change in Dorsey’s career as a Chief as the team made the switch to a 3-4 defensive formation.

Even though the switch should not have been an issue for Dorsey given that at LSU he played in a 3-4 defensive formation, under then head coach Nick Saban, he seemed to struggle. Because of his struggles to seem fully confident and comfortable to play in a 3-4, the pickup of Dorsey by the 49ers, a team who plays a 3-4 defensive formation was one that caught many off guard, including yours truly.

Upon further reading up on Dorsey, the issue was not so much him as to where he was being played in the 3-4 formation which the Chiefs ran during his time there. When the Chiefs played a 4-3, Dorsey was asked to play the three-technique, meaning he would line up on the outside shoulder of the opposing team’s guard. In the 3-4, he was asked to play the five-technique, meaning he would line up on the outside shoulder of the opposing offensive tackle.

The reason this is significant is because in the three-technique, he was closer to the ball and therefore could use his quickness and hands to be disruptive. In the five-technique position, he is farther away from the ball, not by much, but still enough to take Dorsey away from what he does best.

With the 49ers, Dorsey will be competing in training camp with Ian Williams for the starting nose tackle position. Aside from competing with Williams for the starter spot, Dorsey will still be guaranteed seeing playing time this season. Because of the emphasis in giving Justin Smith and Ray McDonald snaps off to keep them fresh, Dorsey can come in and take over their spot as the defensive end playing the three-technique.

While things did not go according to plan with the Chiefs for Dorsey, there is enough evidence to suggest that a change of scenery and a change in position alignment can kick start and bring out the best of him as a player. If that’s the case, don’t be surprised if Dorsey ends up being one of those players mentioned as a steal signing by the 49ers from this past offseason.

Lucas Carreras is a contributing San Francisco 49ers writer for RantSports.com. You can follow Lucas on Twitter by following him @maldini3fan and you can add him to your circles on Google+.


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  • geep

    I look for Dorsey to have a big increase in QB sacks!! Opponents will have to double team the Smith’s and still stop the best MLB combo in the NFL!! This will leave Dorsey with one O-lineman to beat, letting him use his quickness to get to the QB!!