After analyzing the San Francisco 49ers first preseason game, I came away impressed with numerous young players. From second-round pick (No. 57) RB Carlos Hyde to last year’s second-round pick (No. 40) DE Tank Carradine, many of the young but talented players made a very good first impression. However it was not a surprise to me, as I said both of those players would be instant contributors week one, it was another player that instead caught my eye and that was the play of second-year DL Quinton Dial.
Whether shedding blockers or maintaining gap integrity, Dial simply “dialed up” his game to another level last Thursday as he finished with a team-high 10 tackles and two forced fumbles. However, it was his ability to hold the point of attack while plugging the gaps which caught my eye. Whether shooting the B gaps or pushing the pocket, Dial did an exceptional job down in the trenches. And while he mainly played the five-technique for most of the game, I believe Dial should be kicked inside at the zero technique.
For those of you who don’t know the difference between the five and zero technique, it’s basically the starting point of where the defensive lineman lines up. At the five-technique, the player is lined up right over the right or left tackle, that’s where Dial lined up for the majority of the game. The zero technique lines up directly over the center, a position held by NT Glenn Dorsey before his torn biceps injury, leaving me to believe Dial should be the “next-man up.”
A nose tackle needs to have the necessary strength to command consistent double-teams. A big advantage for Dial as he has the massive size to hold the point of attack, as he weighs 315 pounds, Dial should have no problems in that area. Not to mention, Dial was known as a space eater at the zero-technique coming out of college, Dial should be given every opportunity to win that job. And with NT Mike Purcell struggling last week, it should at least be given a close look by Niners DC Vic Fangio, as the 49ers are extremely thin at the nose tackle position.
Aside from Dial’s size it’s his mean streak that may bode well for the 49ers defensive line. A player that has a nasty mentality to do whatever is asked of him, Dial does not take crap from anyone. A purely aggressive monster on the line, you need a player like that who can physically impose his will on the daily, and that’s exactly what Dial would bring. No offense to Purcell, but I doubt offensive lineman are having a hard time sleeping at night knowing he’s lined up across from them. However, Dial is a different story.
A position that is arguably one of the most important in a 3-4 scheme, Dial just may be what the doctor ordered, as he clearly showed his talent on both sides of the defensive line. A behemoth defensive lineman with the ability to occupy multiple blockers, why not give Dial an inside look as Carradine can then take over as the backup primary five-technique until Dorsey comes back to full health.
What are your thoughts Forever Faithful? Should the 49ers kick Dial inside? Start the discussion here on NinerFans.com.