There's no question which position group is the 49ers' strongest. It's the defensive line, and no other unit comes close.
Loaded with numerous former first-round draft picks, the 49ers project to have one of the strongest defensive lines in the entire NFL heading into the 2021 season. They can rush the passer. They can stop the run. There isn't much that they don't do well, and it's not just a quality thing; there's ample quantity, too.
At the very least, it's the best defensive line that veteran defensive tackle Zach Kerr has ever been associated with.
"No, not even close," Kerr said following San Francisco's 15-10 preseason win over the Los Angeles Chargers when asked if he has ever been a member of a comparable D-line. "And that's kind of what I tell everybody when they ask me about the team and our room. It's easily the most talented group I've ever been a part of, the deepest D-line I've ever been a part of. That's a testament to the guys upstairs working to get us all in one place and allowing us to be great and allowing us to finish together and play together."
"That's one of the reasons why I decided to come here," Kerr added. "You look at the team, you look at the history of the 49ers. A couple of years ago, they were in the big game. Injuries killed them the year after. And then you look at them rebuilding -- not rebuilding, but building their roster back up, trying to get back to that spot. For me, it was kind of a no-brainer when they gave us a call."
Kerr, 30, signed a one-year contract with the 49ers in free agency after a career-year with the Carolina Panthers last season, which has contributed to the good kind of problem that San Francisco now has. The fact of the matter is, the 49ers have more defensive linemen deserving of a spot on the final 53-man roster than they have available roster spots, which means at least one very talented individual is going to be the odd man out.
While that naturally could create tension within the defensive line, Kerr explained it has had the opposite effect.
"Everyone in the room knows that, and that's what keeps everybody going," Kerr said. "We feed off that. But nobody talks about it. ... We know what it is, and everybody knows that that's the truth and the reality of the business, the reality of the game, but it keeps everybody going. If one guy's not feeling it that day and you kind of tell, the next guy's like, 'Hey, bruh, come on, let's go.' And that's what you need in a room like that. We ain't got no haters, everybody wants everybody to be successful, and I think that's the cool thing about this position group that we've got. Everybody likes each other. It's actually pretty cool to be a part of."
Kerr currently finds himself in a numbers game, though it would be fairly shocking if he didn't make the final 53. And if for whatever reason he doesn't, that should tell you all you need to know about just how good the 49ers' defensive line truly is.