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Allen Bailey is exactly the kind of player that the 49ers defense needs.
Isaac Sopoaga is a mammoth and does a good job of clearing holes for the linebackers to do their job. Aubrayo Franklin is a first-rate nose tackle, but is getting old and is looking for a long-term deal. Justin Smith doesn't appear to be slowing down. Ray McDonald definitely earns his place on the team, but isn't good enough to start yet. Demetric Evans is by all means expendable.
I think one of the 49ers first two picks need to be used on an individual who can fill the left defensive end role, a Bryant Young type individual who has a non-stop motor and is a threat in the backfield on every play. Marvin Austin, Marcel Dareus and Allen Bailey all come to mind.
Sopoaga has, and is again, more than capable of playing nose tackle, Ricky Jean-Francois is a serviceable backup at either DE or DT. This pick doesn't hold as much significance to the standpoint that Sopoaga is a liability as it does that to swap out Evans for a bookend 3-4 defensive end who presents a dominating presence in the backfield.
It also makes a lot of sense from a financial standpoint, as San Francisco obviously has its druthers with signing Aubrayo Franklin to a long-term deal, so he may be gone at the end of the season as well.
The outside linebackers we have are a touchy subject. Manny Lawson is still showing an upside, not nearly worth the contract he's asking for but he is undoubtedly a serviceable starter. Ahmad Brooks seems to be dealt the role of backup for most of the season. Travis LaBoy generates pressure although is inconsistent, and Parys Haralson still leaves me wondering why the team extended his contract more often than not.
When it comes down to it, in a 3-4 defense, the nose tackle is the center key to MLB performance. We have a good starter, and a good backup nose tackle. Defensive ends are the key to OLB performance, and this is where we have struggled.
I firmly believe that the insertion of a fierce defensive end that generates QB pressure starting in Isaac Sopoaga's stead unlocks the key to more mismatches in the 49ers favor than any other move they could make on the defensive side of the ball. These players, as Bryant Young, Ndamukong Suh, etc. have shown us, come at a high pick price, and if the 49ers do not select a QB with the first-round pick they would be foolish not to spend it.