When the San Francisco 49ers drafted DE Tank Carradine in the second-round (No. 40) of the 2013 NFL Draft, I knew they had drafted a huge sleeper. A calculated risk by 49ers GM Trent Baalke as he traded back with the Tennessee Titans in a 3-for-1 deal, the 49ers still landed their target and eventual replacement for DE Justin Smith. That’s right, to think that the 49ers do not believe Carradine will be Cowboy’s eventual replacement is absurd. You don’t draft a player in the second-round to simply provide depth, and with a talent like Carradine, sky’s the limit. So with Carradine being placed on IR his rookie season due to a torn ACL suffered at Florida State, what can the Forever Faithful expect in 2014? Although he likely won’t start, you can be sure he will be be included in DC Vic Fangio’s sub packages on passing downs.
A true pass-rush threat as Carradine has the rare combination of speed to power, look for him to wreck havoc in the backfield. A relentless motor with the lateral quickness to match, Carradine will turn heads in 2014. A player I like to compare to DE Justin Tuck, Carradine has the brute force to bull rush his way passed offensive lineman. Aside from Carradine’s pass-rush ability, it’s his football IQ to set the edge that separates himself from many young defensive lineman.
Whether it’s staying home to take away the read-option or play-action pass, Carradine’s ability to sniff out and diagnose plays is a thing of beauty. With the 2014 season on the rise, look for Carradine’s name to pop up quite frequently starting in the pre-season as he should have a field-day against back-ups. A somewhat of a rookie campaign as he has yet to get his feet wet in the NFL, look for Carradine to have a stat line around 25 tackles and 4.5 sacks as the 49ers already found their replacement for Cowboy despite what some NFL pundits say.