With Aldon Smith being arrested for DUI this morning and a possible suspension looming from the NFL or the San Francisco 49ers it begs the question of who will step up as the pass rusher?
Starting outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks will get more opportunities to pressure the quarterback in Smith’s absence and during the 2012 season he ranked second on the 49ers with six-and-a-half sacks and in 2011 he set a career-high with seven sacks.
2013 third-round pick Corey Lemonier who has seen most of his action on special teams and has made one tackle this season will now get the opportunity to possibly start. At Auburn his best season came in 2011 when he recorded 47 tackles, had nine-and-a-half sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss.
The 49ers aren’t a team that blitzes often meaning that Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman aren’t like to get used in passing situations.
Justin Smith arguably the most important defensive player on the team will get the chance to record a few sacks and frustrate offensive linemen, yet is 33-years old and will turn 34 in 10 days and with Aldon Smith out he’ll see more double-teams than before.
Depending on how long the suspension is Tank Carradine who is on the physically unable to perform list to start the season as he recovers from an anterior cruciate ligament injury suffered last season as a member of the Florida State Seminoles. Recorded 80 tackles, 11 sacks, 13 tackles for loss and a forced fumble as a senior.
Another option for the 49ers is to sign a free agent such as Mark Anderson who recorded 10 sacks as a member of the New England Patriots in 2011 and in 2012 after signing with the Buffalo Bills recorded one sack in five games.
Also, available Juqua Parker who had six sacks with the Cleveland Browns last season.
There’s no question with Aldon Smith facing a possible suspension the 49ers defense will struggle to get to the quarterback, yet it gives Lemonier and later Carradine a chance to showcase their talent and for Smith a wakeup call he desperately needs.