How about Dee Ford on one edge of the 49ers defense with Nick Bosa on the other?
For 49ers fans now, that possibility – and the threat of San Francisco having a ferocious pass rush in the 2019 season – looks very real.
On Tuesday, the 49ers traded for Ford, the Chiefs’ breakout pass-rushing star of 2018, who had 13 sacks from his outside linebacker spot in Kansas City’s 3-4 defense. The 6-foot-1, 252-pounder also forced a league-high seven fumbles and had 55 tackles over 16 games, including 13 for loss. In addition to his sacks, Ford had 29 quarterback hits and, according to Next Gen Stats, had quarterback pressures on 69 snaps in 2018. Ford also led the NFL with 10 forced turnovers.
For a 49ers team that took the ball away from opponents a league-low seven times in 2018, Ford’s presence on the defense could be game-changing.
To get Ford from the Chiefs, the 49ers had to trade a second-round draft pick in 2020 and then extend Ford’s contract five years for as much as $87.5 million, according to NFL.com.
The 49ers will go into April’s draft with the No. 2 overall selection, and are likely to end up with Ohio State defensive end Bosa if the Cardinals select quarterback Kyler Murray.
Suddenly, San Francisco would have a formidable defensive front – and there will be other additions before September.
While the 49ers operate in a base 4-3 defense, coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme is flexible and shifts often to a 3-4 alignment. Ford could be a good fit as an edge rusher from either alignment.
Ford told Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports that he’s excited by the commitment the 49ers have shown to get him and is working hard this offseason to be as strong and quick as he can be to have an even better season than he had in 2018.
“Now I’m going to be like a Ferrari, but with an 18-wheeler’s force,” he said. “I’m going to have more muscle mass behind it.”
Ford said the 49ers plan to make the most of his pass-rushing talent.
“Music to my ears,” he told Paylor. “We’re going after the quarterback every play.”