Randy Gregory

How Randy Gregory already is impressing 49ers' Steve Wilks

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SANTA CLARA — The 49ers want more production out of 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 just conversing with him, good person,” Wilks said on Thursday. “I think he’s going to fit right in with the culture that we have here. He understands the tempo and how we practice. I love the way he moves around and just his willingness to get in here at all times of the day, just trying to absorb and learn this defense, says a lot about him.”

While the 49ers consistently are at the top of PFF’s pass rushing grades this season, their quarterback sack numbers are not up to the level that the group has recorded in previous years. By Week 5 of the 2022 season, the 49ers had recorded 21 quarterback sacks. Through the same span this year, San Francisco has just 13 sacks.

Nick Bosa is pleased reinforcement were added on the opposite side of the defensive line, and he is confident Gregory will benefit from playing lower, starting in a three-point stance as opposed to standing upright at the line of scrimmage.

Wilks agrees with the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, believing that Gregory could see improved play from a lower starting position. The 6-foot-5, 242 pound pass rusher, acquired along with a 2024 seventh-round draft pick by the 49ers for a 2024 sixth-round draft pick, recorded one sack through 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 that it helps him, but I think this is the game of pad level, you know?” Wilks said. “It’s always in regards to ‘low man wins' kind of thing. So the lower you can be, the lower your pads are, the greater you’re going to be on that particular play, in other words.”

Gregory is excited for his new 49ers opportunity and already has been seen on the practice field deep in conversation with Bosa. The two seemed to be sharing ideas about techniques during the individual portion of practice.

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 through five seasons in Arlington. Gregory’s season-high sack total is six, which he recorded in both 2018 and 2021.

If Gregory can reach his single-season high total, 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.

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