Skip to main content

Willie McGinest Ranks NFL's Best Linebacker Groups: How Do the 49ers Fare?

View the top images of the defense during the team's offseason program.

The San Francisco 49ers defense boasts a revamped group of linebackers. In addition to returner players like NaVorro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks, the 49ers signed Malcolm Smith and Elvis Dumervil in free agency and selected Reuben Foster with the 31st overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. General manager John Lynch's efforts to improve the roster have not gone unnoticed.

Former Pro Bowl linebacker and analyst Willie McGinest recently ranked his top 5 linebacking groups heading into the 2017 season and placed the 49ers fourth on the list.  

Take a look at what McGinest had to say about the 49ers deep group of linebackers.

*Key contributors: OLB Ahmad Brooks, MLB NaVorro Bowman, OLB Elvis Dumervil, OLB Malcolm Smith, OLB Reuben Foster.*

New general manager John Lynch is building a stout defense in a short time, as reflected in the spirit of Lynch's Tweet on (June 5th) about adding veteran pass rusher Elvis Dumervil: "Just added another stud to harass QBs." Dumervil joins a consistent Ahmad Brooks, former All-Pro NaVorro Bowman (who's returning from injury), experienced former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith and Reuben Foster, one of the best rookies at the position. When Bowman and Patrick Willis played alongside one another, they were electric. If Foster -- who can be not just the best defensive rookie this season but the best first-year pro, period -- digests the defense, he could assume the Willis role in 2017.

San Francisco's linebackers will be tasked with improving a run defense that ranked last in 2016 and a pass-rush that accumulated just 31 sacks.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.