SANTA CLARA — The 49ers want more production from their defensive line, and defensive coordinator Steve Wilks believes Randy Gregory is the perfect addition to achieve the goal.
“After a short period of time I just talked to him, good guy,” Wilkes said Thursday. “I think he’ll fit right into the culture we have here. He understands rhythm and how we practice. I love the way he moves and his willingness to get in here at all times of the day, and just trying to absorb and learn this defense, says a lot about him.”
While the 49ers consistently rank at the top of PFF’s rushing grades this season, their quarterback sack numbers aren’t quite up to the level the group has posted in previous years. By Week 5 of the 2022 season, the 49ers had recorded 21 quarterback sacks. During the same period this year, San Francisco had just 13 sacks.
Nick Bosa is pleased with the addition of reinforcements on the other side of the defensive line, and is confident Gregory will benefit from playing lower, starting in a three-point stance rather than standing upright at the line of scrimmage.
Wilkes agrees with the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, believing Gregory could see improved play from a lower starting position. The 6-foot-5, 242-pound pass rusher was acquired along with a 2024 seventh-round draft pick by the 49ers for a 2024 sixth-round draft pick, and has recorded one sack over four Denver Broncos games this season, and three total sacks in 10 games over two seasons in the Mile High City.
“I don’t want to say it helps him, but I think that’s the board game, you know?” Wilkes said. “It’s always about the ‘low guy wins’ kind of thing. So, the lower you can be, the lower your platforms are, the higher your standing in that particular game, in other words.
Gregory is excited about his new opportunity with the 49ers and has already been seen on the coaching field in a deep conversation with Bosa. The two seemed to be exchanging ideas on techniques during the individual portion of the training.
The Nebraska product was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft (No. 60) and recorded 19.5 sacks over five seasons in Arlington. Gregory’s total number of sacks on the season is six, which he recorded in both 2018 and 2021.
If Gregory can reach his highest total in a single season, it would be the highest sack total for a 49ers player, other than Bosa, since Arden Key recorded 6.5 sacks and Arik Armstead recorded six in 2021.
Gregory’s first chance to show the 49ers what he’s capable of comes on the road against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
“Alcohol enthusiast. Twitter ninja. Tv lover. Falls down a lot. Hipster-friendly coffee geek.”