Since Day 1 of training camp, Jeremiah Attaochu has been impressive.
The former Chargers pass-rush standout is healthy, quick and flashing the talent that produced a six-sack season in 2015. The 6-foot-3, 252-pounder – a second-round pick out of Georgia Tech in 2014 – was signed by the 49ers this offseason as an addition to the pass rush, and it appears he could have a significant impact.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh plans to use Attaochu as a defensive end in pass situations, and a change of pace on the defensive line in his 4-3 base scheme. With the Chargers, he was an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system.
So far, Saleh says Attaochu is one of the bright spots on defense.
“Attaochu is relentless,” Saleh told reporters Monday. “He’s very, very business-like. He’s a lot more nimble, if that’s the word, than I thought he’d be. He’s very athletic. Very, very athletic. He is very determined, so we’re excited to have him.
“He comes with the right mindset, so having him here and adding him to the group has been cool.”
When San Francisco general manager John Lynch signed Attaochu, he called him a “disruptive defender” who is a great fit for Saleh’s scheme.
If he’s going to produce, however, Attaochu is going to have to stay healthy, which was one of his problems with the Chargers. Over the past two seasons, he played in just 12 games total, with only two sacks. He had eight sacks in 26 games over the 2014 and 2015 seasons.