With Dorsey Out, Armstead to Get Bigger Role

Rookie first-round draft choice will be able to get valuable on-the-job learning experience over final six games

Glenn Dorsey’s time as a San Francisco 49er hasn’t been easy.

The former first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs signed with San Francisco in 2013 and played all 16 games that season, becoming the starting nose tackle when Ian Williams was lost early in the season.

But Dorsey missed all of 2014 with injury and now has been lost for the remainder of this season when he suffered a ligament tear in his right knee in Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Dorsey, who is signed through 2016, should be able to return to contribute next season. In 10 games this season as part of a rotation on the defensive line, he was in on 18 tackles.

It’s a tough break for Dorsey and the 49ers, who need all the help they can get defensively. The Niners defense has struggled in 2015 and did again Sunday, giving up more than 200 yards rushing to undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls. The analytics website Pro Football Focus, in fact, reported the 49ers missed 10 tackles Sunday.

The only plus for the 49ers concerning Dorsey’s loss may be the extra opportunities for No. 1 draft pick Arik Armstead.

When the 3-7 49ers host the 8-2 Arizona Cardinals Sunday (1:05 p.m. kickoff), Armstead – the team’s top pick in 2015 out of Oregon – figures to get extended playing time. For a team that’s going nowhere, it’s a chance for the 49ers to accelerate Armstead’s playing time to get him better prepared for 2016.

After Dorsey’s injury against the Seahawks, Armstead played a career-best 46 snaps and was in on six tackles and a quarterback hit. In 10 games, Armstead has a sack and has been in on 13 tackles.

Recently, 49ers defensive coordinator Eric Mangini said he believes Armstead has “made a good push” and has made big strides. Now, he’ll get more reps and the 49ers will be better able to see what they have for next season.

Mangini said Armstead should improve at a rapid pace because of his smarts and energy.

“It’s the motor. It’s the motor,” said Mangini. “As he grows into, not just his role, but just in the NFL, he’ll continue to make jumps because of how he’s wired and who he is.”

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