Editor’s note: Insider Matt Maiocco will analyze each position group leading up to 49ers training camp. The full squad reports on July 30 with the first practice scheduled for July 31.
The 49ers have never recorded fewer quarterback sacks as a franchise than last season when their pass-rushers dumped opposing quarterbacks just 28 times.
And it certainly does not help this thin, unproven group that Aaron Lynch last week was suspended for the first four games of the regular season due to his violation of the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse. While not an elite pass-rusher (12.5 sacks in 30 games), Lynch was a player the 49ers believed was developing into a key piece at an important position.
--Aaron Lynch (suspended for first four games)
Does Brooks have anything left?
Brooks has not been as active the past two seasons as he was from 2011 to 2013, when he was a very good complement to Aldon Smith on the other side. Brooks is 32. He spent most of the 49ers’ offseason program rehabbing from an undisclosed physical condition he described as “nothing big.” At a time when the 49ers should already have their replacement lined up, the 49ers appear to have very little behind him. And with Brooks likely to be the one pass-rusher to attract attention, it's unlikely he can carry the load at this stage in his career.
How will the 49ers compensate for Lynch during his suspension?
Harold appeared to put himself in position to make a big leap in production from his rookie season with an offseason devoted to getting bigger and stronger. He showed potential in college with 15.5 sacks in his final two seasons at Virginia. Lemonier has not shown much consistency during his first three seasons in the NFL. He registered just one sack in 42 games after the 49ers invested a third-round pick in him. The 49ers could use a committee approach with one of their defensive linemen, such as Tank Carradine or Ronald Blair, filling the role in nickel situations.
How does Carradine fit in?
The 49ers’ coaching staff worked him a lot at outside linebacker during the offseason program. While he does not appear to be ready to step in as an every-down player, it is entirely possible Carradine is the best option during Lynch’s suspension. More likely, Carradine will have an opportunity to get on the field as a pass-rush specialist in the team’s nickel package.