49ers Are a ‘Perfect Fit’ for ‘Misused’ Veteran DL: Analyst

Poona Ford

Getty Poona Ford looking on before facing the Cardinals on November 21, 2021.

Lately, the San Francisco 49ers have become the land of rejuvenation for embattled defensive linemen — as defensive line coach Kris Kocurek finds a way to light a new fire under them.

It’s happened to Arden Key as he delivered his career-best sack season in 2021. T.Y. McGill also found rejuvenation in reuniting with Kocurek this season. Samson Ebukam reached new career-bests with Kocurek coaching him. And Charles Omenihu became valuable in a deep trench unit as Kocurek helped find a way to use his height and length.

Now, NFL analyst Kyle Posey of SB Nation proposed this idea on Tuesday, February 21: The 49ers become interested in adding nose tackle Poona Ford, who is set to leave the rival Seattle Seahawks as an unrestricted free agent.

“Ford may not qualify as a splash signing, but he’s a perfect fit for what the 49ers ask of their defensive line. He’s 5-foot-11, 310-pounds, but is the type of athlete who excels at the different types of games and stunts Kris Kocurek likes to run and is durable in good enough shape where he doesn’t have to come off the field on obvious passing downs,” Posey explained.

And turns out, even Ford’s Seahawks coach gave a telling admission of Ford which points to his departure.

Ford was ‘Misused,’ Pete Carroll Admits

Ford’s last game was the NFC playoff loss to the 49ers during Super Wild Card Weekend. But when Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll looked back at Ford’s performance, he admitted via Seahawks beat writer Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune that the ‘Hawks “wore him down.”

Bell: “Pete Carroll says Seahawks overused Poona Ford on the defensive line. He likes Ford over the center at nose tackle. They played him more outside as 3-technique and even 5-tech. ‘I think we wore him down.'”

Bell added how he expects Ford sliding back over to his natural nose tackle position for 2023. Yet, Ford again is an unrestricted free agent and could be pretty high demand for teams seeking nose tackle help. Ford’s value could also be boosted by virtue of him producing a career-best sack season in 2022 and producing back-to-back seasons of hitting six tackles for a loss. He’s also rarely missed games, as he’s started in 16 or 17 games the last three seasons.

And when utilized over a center, Ford wrecks this type of havoc in the trenches:

Ford ‘Could Easily’ Replace 1 DL Starter on 49ers

With his stature, Ford can be a McGill-type for Kocurek, new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and the 49ers. He can also be a D.J. Jones-like option as a nose tackle who only worries about overpowering through centers. One more 49ers analyst Steph Sanchez of SB Nation is hopeful of a Ford/Kocurek collaboration.

Ford, though, is still being urged by Seahawk fans to keep as the defensive line gets younger but will need a veteran voice. Ford, additionally, is projected to make $9.2 million annually plus earn three years worth up to $27.8 million with his next contract per Spotrac. There’s no telling if the 49ers would offer that kind of deal if they make a run at the sixth-year nose tackle. But again, the fit is there for Ford to blend in with the Niners — and go from “misused” to rejuvenated under a DL mastermind in Kocurek. There’s even the though of Ford “easily” replacing one starter on the 49ers’ line.

“Above all, Ford is a good football player. He has the awareness to sniff out screens, the strength to hold up against double teams, and doesn’t have a history of missing games. Ford just turned 27 and could easily be Javon Kinlaw’s replacement in the lineup for the next three to four seasons,” Posey wrote. “If I could ask Shanahan to sign one player in the NFC West, it’d be Ford.”

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