The 49ers probably have the deepest defensive line in the NFC West. But do they have the best four-man pass rush?
When it's third and 7 with the game on the line and it's time to play your four best pass rushers, which NFC West has the best foursome?
Let's break them down and rank them from worst to best.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Carlos Dunlap, Poona Ford, Aldon Smith and Kerry Hyder.
Dunlap is a good edge rusher -- he recorded six sacks in eight games with the Seahawks last season. But Poona Ford is a mere run defender, Aldon Smith is a decent interior rusher at this point in his career (if he can play), and Kerry Hyder has proven he does not produce when he's not playing for 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. This is by far the worst four-man rush in the NFC West.
3. 49ers: Nick Bosa, Javon Kinlaw, Arik Armstead, Samson Ebukam.
If Dee Ford and Nick Bosa were 100-percent healthy, this might be the best four-man front in the division. But Ford might never play again, and Bosa might be limited in 2021 after tearing his ACL last season. Samson Ebukam is a good athlete, but not a proven pass rusher. Ditto for Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead. The 49ers really need Bosa turn return and stay healthy.
2. Los Angeles Rams: Leonard Floyd, Aaron Donald, A'Shawn Robinson, Terrell Lewis.
Donald is the best defensive player in the NFL -- he recorded 13.5 sacks last season, a down year for him. His sidekick, Floyd, recorded 10 sacks. So they're an elite duo. Robinson and Lewis aren't good pass rushers, but Donald and Floyd more than make up for their deficiencies. Any front with Donald is nearly impossible to block.
1. Arizona Cardinals: Chandler Jones, J.J. Watt, Jordan Phillips, Markus Golden.
The Cardinals quietly revamped their defensive line the past two years. They signed Phillips last year, and Watt and Golden this year. Between those three and Jones, who opted out of 2020, all four Cardinals pass rushers have recorded at least 9.5 sacks in a season at one point in their careers. This might be the best four-man rush in the league when healthy.