Who will win the 4th Defensive tackle spot?
We are all very aware of the team’s short comings when it comes to stopping the run. While Joseph Linval and Justin Jones make for a solid starting pair, defensive tackle is a position that gets rotated out on a regular basis based on a players conditioning and game situation. In fact, they mainly get rotated in pairs. The obvious option for the second group would be Jerry Tilley who still has a lot to prove. The question here is about that 4th defensive tackle spot. Who will it be?
The battle after two preseason games so far has yet to be decided…at least in fans eyes. For all we know the coaches may have someone they are already leaning towards. The job is between Joe Gaziano, Breiden Fehoko, and Christian Covington. First is Gaziano who was a UDFA end last year. Gaziano has put on some extra weight in the offseason and kicked inside. Against the Rams he had 2 tackles and just 1 against the 49ers. Gaziano has shown a high motor though, constantly clogging gaps.
Fehoko is from the same UDFA class last year as Gaziano and is a true DT unlike Gaziano. Fehoko has made more plays in the run stopping department but offers little in terms of pass rush which regulates him as a nose tackle essentially. Although a run stopping specialist would still be very helpful considering it’s a weak spot. Fehoko had 2 tackles against the 49ers this week and just 1 tackle against the Rams.
The likely Favorite at this point at least as far as the stat sheet goes would be Christian Covington who was signed late in free agency. Covington is probably the most well rounded of the bunch. He had 2 tackles against the Rams with one going for a loss. He also had 4 tackles against the 49ers.
Neither one has particularly graded very well in terms of Pro Football Focus grades but those only tell part of the story. It’s also possible that all of these guys stick around in some sense or another. They coaches may very well opt to keep 5 DTs on the active roster, the 5th spot just there for emergency purposes. While the other could still stick around on the practice squad. This is one of the more over looked position battles that I am looking forward to see play out.