When Glenn Dorsey was playing football at LSU, he was an unblockable force who looked as if he’d be a certain Pro Bowler in the NFL.
The defensive tackle was a two-time, first-team All-American and the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 when he had 69 tackles seven sacks and 12½ tackles for loss in 13 games for a national championship team. The same season he became the first player ever to win these four national defensive awards in the same season: the Outland Trophy, the Lombardi Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Lott Trophy.
An analysis of Dorsey heading into the 2008 NFL Draft by NFL.com raved about his work ethic, his “natural power,” his good feet and ability to read plays, as well as his leadership.
Dorsey, said the analysis, was, “the most decorated player in the history” of a school with decades of football success.
Since being taken with the fifth overall choice of the 2008 draft by the Chiefs, however, Dorsey has been winning few accolades.
Now he has a chance to start fresh with the 49ers, who signed him to a free-agent deal Wednesday. And the Niners get a 27-year old lineman with five years of NFL experience who will get a chance to take over the nose tackle position left vacant by the departure of Isaac Sopoaga.
The 6-foot-1, 297-pound Dorsey agreed to a deal worth as much as $7 million over two years, reported Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
For Dorsey, who comes from the woeful Chiefs to the NFC-champion 49ers, it’s a chance to again be an impact player on a winning team.
“People are going to say what they’re going to say,” Dorsey told Barrows, of his first five seasons with Kansas City. “The only thing I can control is, I have a new opportunity to work hard and compete at a high level.”
Dorsey last season played just four games for the Chiefs because of calf injury. In his first four seasons, however, he was durable, missing just two games. Though he was a solid defensive tackle in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes in K.C., his numbers weren’t eye-popping – and certainly disappointing when compared with his statistics at LSU.
He has just four career sacks – none since 2010 – but averaged 58 tackles his first four, full seasons.
After signing with the 49ers, Dorsey said he was excited by the Niners’ positive energy and winning feeling, something that’s been missing in Kansas City.
“It’s a positive atmosphere,” he told reporters. “Everybody is working hard and talking to each other. And you can feel it when you walk into the building. It’s like a big family. Everybody is high-fiving each other, talking to each other. It’s a different environment than what I’m used to. I’m excited about it and I’m excited to get going.”
NFC West blogger Mike Sando of ESPN.com wrote that Dorsey’s signing might signal the 49ers are going in a new direction with their defensive line, trying to build a deeper, more versatile corps that can allow for more rotation and keeping players fresh and more effective. Sando believes Dorsey is best suited for a 4-3 defense rather than the 3-4 scheme that the 49ers use as their base. It could indicate the 49ers may be more versatile in 2013, especially if they continue to build the line through this year’s draft.
He also notes that Dorsey may flourish under the coaching of 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, who is regarded as one of the league’s best.
Dorsey said, in fact, that Tomsula picked him up at the airport, and he was fired up by the coach’s enthusiasm.
“He basically told me I’m going to have the opportunity to compete and play,” Dorsey told the media. “That’s all I need.”