The San Francisco 49ers have been busy upgrading the defensive front with pass rushers capable of getting to the quarterback. They also got a linebacker in Kwon Alexander to help take the edge off. Without a doubt the pass rushing department got a shot in the arm, but how about the run defense? The 49ers were middle-of the road in 2018 in terms of numbers, a steady improvement since the atrocious showing in 2016 under Jim O’Neil.
Well, Pro Football Focus may think differently. They are doing their rankings of run defenders and rank the 49ers run defense last in the league. The Los Angeles Rams are in front of them at 31 in case you’re curious.
I don’t know about this one. Here’s what they said about the ranking:
The 49ers once again invested heavily in their front-seven this offseason, but almost all those moves came with the expressed intent of affecting the pass. Dee Ford has a career-high run-defense grade of 67.6, and Kwon Alexander’s is 53.3. Nick Bosa should hold his own in that regard, but this is still a rough unit overall.
I’m first to say the 49ers run defense isn’t a world-beating unit by any stretch, but last? The Cincinnati Bengals didn’t want any of that?
The 49ers were middle of the pack as far as yards allowed, touchdowns, and yards-per-game in 2018. It’s a bit of a mystery how a team that was middle of the road (with injuries mind you) goes to last place. There’s no doubt the pass rushing unit got an upgrade, but Solomon Thomas was a better run blocker than a pass rusher in 2018. Arik Armstead has been considered the best in the business at run defense per his coach.
The 49ers aren’t a top-10 run defense, but 32nd seems just a bit high. What do you think? Where do you put the run defense this year?