Rookie Quinton Dial, who had his first-ever NFL practice this week, was elevated to the 49ers' active roster today and presumably will see his first action on Sunday against the Titans.
Dial's activation signals that starting nose tackle Glenn Dorsey still is recovering from a hamstring injury suffered Sunday against Arizona. Second-year player Tony Jerod-Eddie likely will start at nose tackle and Dial, who at 320 pounds is the 49ers' biggest defender, would supply backup at the position.
The 49ers created a roster spot earlier in the week when they released receiver/tight end Chris Harper, who was later picked up by the Packers. The 49ers coaches were deliberating between activating Dial and undrafted rookie Mike Purcell, who has been practicing with the team since May. Purcell remains on the 49ers' practice squad.
That they went with Dial signals that he had a promising week of practice. The fifth-round pick played at Alabama, which uses a defensive scheme similar to the one the 49ers employ. Dial mostly played defensive end in that scheme but he also had several starts at nose tackle. Dial had been recovering from a torn ligament in his big toe, which required surgery in January.
Another reason for activating the rookie: The 49ers don't have a lot of options. They lost another nose tackle, Ian Williams, earlier this year to an ankle injury. Meanwhile, starting defensive end Ray McDonald is dealing with a biceps injury.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said earlier this week that the best course of action would be waiting until the 49ers' Week 9 bye to activate Dial. "But we're not in a perfect world right now with the status of our defensive line," he said. "So we've got to do what we've got to do."
-- Matt Barrows