In the fifth round of the 2013 NFL draft, the San Francisco 49ers continued to address needs on their roster, adding talent along the defensive line. With the No. 157 overall selection on Day 3, the 49ers called in Alabama defender Quinton Dial.
With plenty of high-profile draft picks, the 49ers have been a presence in the draft, strengthening a side of the ball most believed they were already dominant on. However, the addition of a versatile Dial potentially adds layers and depth to this top-ranked defensive unit.
Let's explore how Quinton Dial fits in the Niners.
How Does Dial Fit In?
The 49ers run an attacking 3-4 defense, but with their notoriously stout run defense, opposing offenses often show pass. This ultimately makes the 49ers line up in their nickel and sub packages, which feature four-man fronts.
The selection of Dial makes sense because he is a big, strong, versatile athlete who has scheme versatility. As we’ve seen with San Francisco, especially in this draft, the 49ers are looking for hybrid defenders to play up front.
At 6'5", 318 pounds, Dial has the size to lineup in the three-technique in San Francisco’s base defense, as well as the five-tech in the nickel.
He can be an interior or edge-rusher as well, giving defensive coordinator Vic Fangio another weapon up front.
'Bama's DE Quinton Dial goes to SF in 5th Rd. Will "redshirt" him and develop for a year. JC transfer with potential in 3-4.— Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) April 27, 2013
His Role in 2013
At first glance, Dial appears to be a rotational defensive lineman, but he will have to compete for time.
The departures of Ricky Jean-Francois and Isaac Sopoaga left a glaring void along the defensive line. In the offseason, the 49ers made an attempt to upgrade, adding Glenn Dorsey and Tank Carradine in the trenches.
In the sport of competition, Dial will have as fair a chance as any to earn time as a rookie. After its pass rush was dinged up and grew weary in 2012, San Francisco realized right away that a rotational approach is the answer.
In 2013, the 49ers will get away from working their starters to the bone. This will keep fresh bodies on the line, ultimately allowing them to maintain a relentless pass rush.
As a developmental prospect, Dial is tall, powerful and brings surprising short-area quickness to the trenches. Ideally, the 49ers will turn him into the next Ricky Jean-Francois—an athletic lineman who can spell starters but has upside as a disruptive pass-rusher.
Dylan DeSimone is the San Francisco 49ers' lead columnist for Bleacher Report. A former NFL journalist and fantasy football writer for SB Nation, Niners Nation and SB Nation Bay Area, Dylan now writes for B/R.
To talk football with Dylan, follow him on Twitter @DeSimone80