Darnell Dockett Failed to Make the 49ers’ Roster


The San Francisco 49ers released the veteran defensive tackle, Darnell Dockett. This move was announced on Friday when fans were more likely anticipating the decision on Jarryd Hayne.

Dockett had one of the best opportunities that a defensive tackle could have on an NFL team. As long as he did his job productively, Justin Smith‘s vacant spot would have belonged to Dockett. Instead, the 49ers’ made room for more deserving players.

When the Niners signed Dockett in the offseason, it looked like the team would use him as a short-term answer for a shortage of talented defensive linemen.

Honestly, signing aged defensive players never seems like a good move. The Dockett signing reminded me a lot of when the Oakland Raiders signed LaMarr Woodley. Dockett spent many years on the Arizona Cardinals, and Woodley experienced decent success during his tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, both of them fell to the same fate that most old defensive lineman and linebackers face. They slowed down incredibly, and their strength in the trenches became nowhere to be seen.

Obviously, this story ended quite differently for the Raiders and the 49ers. The Raiders kept Woodley on the roster for a season, and he was a bum. Instead of giving Dockett a chance to show that he’s washed up, the 49ers cut him after a lack of results in the preseason.

This is another good example of the way Jim Tomsula will lead the San Francisco 49ers. Veterans don’t have guaranteed spots because the Niners will make sure the absolute best players are on the field. That approach might even give rookies more chances than what people would expect.

More from San Francisco 49ers

An ESPN article said that Darnell Dockett‘s release could give Arik Armstead a chance at an increased role with the 49ers. Armstead was the 17th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Oregon. The article quoted Armstead talking about his increased playing time in the preseason win against the San Diego Chargers:

"“I got a lot of reps, which is good,” Armstead said after the game, per CSNBayArea.com. “A lot more experience. I wanted to get the playbook down and get more comfortable with that throughout camp and work on my technique, and I think I did a good job of that.”"

Based on the development of new players such as Armstead and Hayne, unexpected faces will grow into key players for a struggling team. Yes, the Niners have had some horrible luck lately with offseason drama, but their young talent mixed with a new head coach could help the team find the Super Bowl victory that evaded them a few years ago.

Next: Bruce Ellington Doing all the Right Things