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49ers Eyeing A Pass Rusher?

The San Francisco 49ers have been a tough team to gauge as far as the 2011 NFL Draft is concerned. On the surface, they would like to nab a quarterback and head in a new direction but the NFL lockout has thrown a wrench in their plans. Considering they won't be able to shape, mold or coach that prospect until the lockout is done, they smply can't put their eggs in that basket and throw a potentially unprepared rookie into the fire come September - if there is football (NFL props found at BetUs still favor the NFL season kicking off in September, even though both sides are not negotiating right now).

So the 49ers are looking to fill another need, which is a safer play: drafting a quality pass rusher.

It's the hallmark of the 3-4 defense nowadays, which is the flavor of the moment in the NFL. Both teams that played in the Super Bowl - the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers - both run 3-4 schemes and Vic Fangio, who coordinates the 49ers defense now, is close friends with Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers.

The 49ers haven't had a pass rusher collect double-digit sacks since Andre Carter did it back in 2002, which fully highlights the need. Starting outside linebackers, Parys Haralson and Manny Lawson, combined for seven sacks this season. Backups Ahmad Brooks and Travis LaBoy each had five sacks in 2010.

The 49ers will take a close look at Texas A&M's Von Miller and North Carolina's Robert Quinn. The biggest question might be will either of them be around when the 49ers draft at No. 7 overall?

Another option could be Bruce Carter, who suffered a torn ACL in December. He'll likely drop to the second round due to the injury but otherwise would have likely been a mid first-round pick.

The 2011 NFL Draft will commence on Thursday, April 28th.

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