Lost in the good news involving the health of Deebo Samuel and Brock Purdy on Monday, December 12 — both of whom didn’t sustain season-ending injuries from Week 14 — was the San Francisco 49ers addressing a concern in the defensive lineman department.
Per NFL insider Aaron Wilson on Monday, the 49ers are turning to a massive interior defender not only called “challenging to block” as noted by one NFL draft scout, but comes with past ties to an Ex-49er.
‘Challenging to Block’ DL Coming to Fill depth
Wilson reported Monday that former Houston Texans defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour is signing to the 49ers’ practice squad.
The reason for his arrival comes as a depth concern the 49ers faced along the interior of the defense. Kevin Givens had to leave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game with a knee injury and got carted off. Hassan Ridgeway is out with a pectoral injury. Javon Kinlaw has been missing due to a lingering knee injury from last season. The Athletic’s 49ers insider David Lombardi called the addition “expected.”
“As expected, the 49ers have added DT depth. Michael Dwumfour played under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan and was most recently with the Texans,” Lombardi tweeted. He added “SF will open a practice squad spot by putting Dontae Johnson on IR (injured reserve) and then they’ll have three elevations to use for Dwumfour if needed.”
Before entering the NFL Draft, Lance Zierlein of nfl.com wrote this first sentence about Dwumfour in his evaluation:
“Intriguing interior defender who clearly lacks the standard measurables for the position, but plays with an activity level that makes him challenging to block,” Zierlein wrote.
The draft expert added: “He will get cleaned out of his gap by double teams and down blocks and he’s not built for heads-up battles against NFL guards on a regular basis. However, he can be tough to get a clean shot on when he’s allowed to go gap-hunting with his disruptive first step and low pad level.”
Again, Dwumfour suited up for the former 49ers head coach Harbaugh in Ann Arbor. Per Michigan, the 6-foot-1, 292-pounder played in 34 total games for the Wolverines including four starts. His best game was on September 8, 2018 against Western Michigan when he delivered five tackles including two solo stops. He also intercepted a pass against Indiana that same season. Two notable teammates of his while at Michigan? Future first rounders Kwity Paye and Aidan Hutchinson.
He eventually moved on to Big 10 rival Rutgers as a graduate transfer. He went undrafted in the 2021 NFL Draft before landing with the Texans as an undrafted free agent. He additionally briefly played alongside future 49ers trade addition Charles Omenihu in Houston.
Dwumfour played in 10 total games with one start in his two-season stint with the AFC South team. He collected 11 total tackles, nine solo stops and two tackles for a loss which was in his rookie season.
Could Kinlaw Return?
While Dwumfour could be elevated for the forthcoming Thursday Night Football contest in Seattle depending on depth, the 49ers could get strengthened by welcoming back Kinlaw before the season ends.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed to reporters on Monday what the goal is for the 2020 first rounder.
“Yeah, our goal was after the Seattle game to hopefully get him back in practice,” Shanahan said of Kinlaw as transcribed via 49ers Webzone. “That was our goal with it. We’ll finish this game up, and we’ll see how it is when we come out on Monday, whether we start opening up his window or not.”
The 49ers would then have 21 days to activate Kinlaw on injured reserve.