Left Defensive End/Left Defensive Tackle (LDE/LDT):
1. Ray McDonald
2. Tony Jerod-Eddie
3. Kaleb Ramsey*
Nose Tackle (NT):
1. Glenn Dorsey**
2. Ian Williams
3. Quinton Dial
Right Defensive End/Right Defensive Tackle (RDE/RDT):
1. Justin Smith
2. Cornellius "Tank" Carradine
3. Demarcus Dobbs
Justin Smith and Ray McDonald will hold down the fort as starters along the defensive line. With the injury to Glenn Dorsey, the real competition is at nose tackle with Ian Williams and Quinton Dial competing for a starting spot.
Dorsey has a good chance at making an appearance late in the season, but for now, the 49ers will have to rely on either Williams or Dial at the nose. Both players have a real shot at winning this gig, but Williams has the edge in my book.
Remember, Williams was pegged to start over Dorsey last season before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks. Williams has phenomenal strength at the point of attack and should play well if healthy.
Dial deserves the opportunity to start, but his inexperience may hurt him in this battle. However, don't be surprised if Dial becomes a fixture in this 49ers rotation. He has the versatility to line up as a 0- or 5-technique in this defense.
The same can be said for Tank Carradine, the 49ers second-round pick in last year's draft. With Carradine finally healthy, he should provide some valuable depth behind either Smith or McDonald.
* Note: Kaleb Ramsey was placed on the PUP list to start the season.
**Note: Dorsey will likely be placed on the short term IR.