Training Camp 2022 Preview: Line of Defence
The San Francisco 49ers’ defensive line will look a little different in the 2022 season without three players who have had a huge impact on the team’s defensive success over the past year: DJ Jones (Denver Broncos), Arden Key (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Kentavius Street (New Orleans). saints). The trio finished last season with a total of 105 stops, 21 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.
To fill the void left by the departures of Jones, Key and Street, San Francisco added Draft Capital by picking Southern California’s Drake Jackson with the 61st overall pick, a starting caliber defensive rookie the team is hoping for that he can help support the edge. The 49ers also brought in rookies Kevin Atkins and Kalia Davis, along with NFL veterans Kemoko Turay, Hassan Ridgeway and Kerry Hyder Jr.
The 2022 season awaits comeback campaigns for Javon Kinlaw and Maurice Hurst, who missed most of last season through injury. Kinlaw, who was hoped to put on a revived sophomore, was limited to just four games before undergoing ACL reconstruction surgery in October. Since then, general manager John Lynch announced that Kinlaw has returned to the team facility and appears to be on track with his recovery.
“It’s nice to see Javon walking around with a smile. He’s no longer in pain,” Lynch said during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. “The plan is that he could be back there in the offseason program, but we want to make sure he’s fully rehabilitated. We don’t want to rush this because it’s so critical to our success. It has such a high ceiling.”
As for the 49ers D-Line veterans, Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa want to pick up where they left off last season. Bosa earned his second Pro Bowl pitch in 2021 and San Francisco exercised its fifth-year contract option on the Edge Rusher for the 2023 season. Armstead notched a career-high 63 total tackles last season after transitioning to a mostly inside role on the defensive line. As a matter of fact, Focus on professional football listed Armstead as an “underrated veteran” in his 2022 Edge Rusher Rankings.
Despite losing a few defensive playmakers, San Francisco still has a deep and talented defensive line going into training camp. Can the unit maintain their league-leading dominance despite the tremors along the D Line?