Question: How does Melvin Oliver fit in, if the 49ers actually pull off the long awaited switch to a 3-4 defense? Considering the fact that Oliver had one sack while playing defensive end in a 4-3 front, should I care?
Answer: Oliver will be one of several players competing for one the defensive end positions. As you astutely noted, Nick, Oliver's not much of a pass-rush threat. But he is big enough to hold up well against the run and occupy blockers, which are the primary responsibilities of a 3-4 end. Let's say the 49ers draft Nebraska's Adam Carriker with the No. 11 pick. It would seem like he and Bryant Young would split time at left defensive end, while Ronnie Fields, Marques Douglas and Oliver would compete for time at the right end spot.
- Matt Barrows