Players the 49ers should target after 2024 NFL Combine: Defensive Line

Mar 5, 2024, 1:00 PM | Updated: 1:22 pm

Chop Robinson #DL45 of Penn State runs the the 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Sta...

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - FEBRUARY 29: Chop Robinson #DL45 of Penn State runs the the 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 29, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Just like that, the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone. And after four days of high-level football testing, the time is now fore the 49ers to decide what to do next month at the NFL Draft.

The San Francisco 49ers hold a first-round pick for the first time since 2021. With the 31st overall selection, SF can go variety of ways to bolster their 2024 roster. Offensive line? Defensive line? Maybe even a wide receiver?

Whomever they decide to pick, this year’s draft is imperative for the 49ers’ long-term, and short-term, success.

The consensus throughout the draft process has been O-Line priority for the 49ers. But, if prospects get snatched up before they’re on the clock, it could force them to look at other vital positions. Or, they could revisit the position later on.

Here are some options on the defensive line.


Chop Robinson (44th PFF Big Board) – Penn State

Statas – 4.48 40 time holy cow, 1.54 split, 250 lbs fastest ever split for edge over

Sometimes a player’s production in college is enough to get them drafted. Sometimes it’s their physical attributes.

With Chop Robinson, it’s both.

The former Penn State Nittany Lion is following in the footsteps of Micah Parsons by being a weapon off the edge.

Entering the combine, he was projected to go late in the first round or early second. But after his 40-yard dash, that will probably change.

4.48 officially for Robinson, the fastest time for any edge player weighing over 250 pounds. Remarkable.

His high-octane speed shows up on tape as well, with an elite first step. His ability to bend and get after the quarterback makes him a valuable addition for any NFL franchise, and that’s just based off athleticism.

It may take a full season before we see Chop really blossom in the NFL. But if he can be coached the right way, he can be another All-Pro talent from Penn.

Which is why if the 49ers wants to get crazy in the first round, Robinson is a name to watch for if he’s available.

Darius Robinson (45th) – Missouri

4.95, needs to move inside but has the right make up

The 49ers have a tendency to acquire defensive linemen that can play across the board. Look at Arik Armstead, Deforest Buckner, Javon Hargrave. The same can be said for Darius Robinson.

The Missouri alum played multiple positions in college, racking up 112 total tackles and 13 sacks in five years. Those numbs include 21 tackles for loss, showing his ability to get in the backfield.

His combine numbers suggest his versatility as well, which is a plus at the next level. However, he ran a 4.95 40, which is good but not great off the edge. Maybe that means he plays inside more so, but the talent and technique is undeniable.

If he falls to the late second round, SF should consider drafting him.

Javon Solomon (92nd) – Troy

Versatility is the name of the game, and Troy’s Javon Solomon embodies just that.

The DE once played at outside linebacker in college, wrecking havoc in the Sun Belt conference. He finished with 183 combined tackles and 33 sacks, incredible production. He also ran a great 40 (4.72), with a good 10-yard split (1.66). Solomon looked the part in drills as well, fluid in his movement with great bend.

The problem: He’s undersized for the position at barely six-foot, weighing 246 lbs.

Solomon will need to bulk up at the next level to be a factor on Sundays. But if we’re just going off production and athleticism, he’s a name to watch for the 49ers. With an end of third round, early fourth grade, he could be a worthwhile project for Kris Kocureck and the Red & Gold.

Additionally, he would love to play next to Nick Bosa. But frankly, who wouldn’t.

Other Names to Watch:

Jonah Elliss (53rd)

Gabriel Murphy (77th)

Brennan Jackson (194th)

Mohamed Kamara (120th)


Braden Fiske (59th) – Florida State

If there was a winner from the defensive line group, it was Florida State’s Braden Fiske last week.

Fiske was moving in Indy, posting a 4.78 40 for a defensive tackle. He knew it was good time as well, letting out a “Oh Yeah” in the moment. That number was first amongst DTs, with a third-best 10-yard split (1.68). That’s absurd for a 292-pound man.

Then his pad work, showing off elite burst throughout the day.

You just don’t find DTs with that kind of quickness. However, he will need to bulk up a little in the NFL, so maybe that speed declines a little.

But the production also speaks volumes, with 191 total tackles in college. He also had 36 TFLs and 19.5 sacks, playing in two conferences.

Fiske may be rising up draft boards, but if he somehow slips to the 49ers in the second round, that’s a great pick for SF.

Ruke Orhorhoro (69th) – Clemson

On the subject of DTs with speed, Ruke Orhorhoro showed out in Indy.

The Clemson product ran the fourth-fastest 40 (4.89 official) with the second-fastest split as well (1.67) for the position. He finished 21st on the Relative Athletic Score for DTs since 1987, making him a premier prospect for the 49ers.

His numbers back up the tests as well, posting 88 total tackles and 12 sacks in college.

However, like Fiske, he’ll need to bulk up to play the interior in the NFL. But, if Orhorhoro can maintain that burst through the added weight, he could become a plus starter in the pros.

Definitely one to watch on Day 2 of the NFL Draft for the 49ers.

Mekhi Wingo (148th) – LSU

Mekhi Wingo may be done on the prospect charts, but his natural ability alone makes him intriguing.

The LSU product posted the second-best 40-time this year for DTs (4.85), along with the best split in 2024 for the position (1.64). His bag work was also impressive, moving with the fluidity of an edge player.

Take a look:

His in-game tape shows that explosiveness as well, tearing up the SEC. He finished college with 98 total tackles, with 13 TFLs and 8.5 sacks. Wingo’s ability to shoot the gap is something the 49ers need and should covet this draft cycle. That makes him an intriguing name to watch in the later rounds.

Finding versatility on Day 3 is the 49ers’ specialty.

Other Names to Watch:

Brandon Dorlus (79th)

T’Vondre Sweat (90th)

McKinnley Jackson (122nd)

Key offseason dates for the San Francisco 49ers

  • Monday, March 11th – 2024 NFL free agency contract talks begins at 9 a.m. PST
  • Wednesday, March 13th – 2024 free agency signing period begins at 1 p.m. PST

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