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Niners go Defense First; Add DT Balmer with First Pick


The 49’ers went defense first for Mike Nolan on Saturday, as the team with the 29th overall pick took North Carolina DT Kentwan Blamer.  He is a player that can take over a game, but at the same time has had injury concerns.  He’s 6-4, 308, and was clocked at 5.33 in the 40.  He is expected to be a starter on the Niners line and if he can stay on the field, can have a sizeable impact in 2008.

Here is Scouts Inc. take on Balmer:

Strengths: Is tall with adequate bulk and room to get even bigger if necessary. When he plays hard he can be flat-out dominant. Gets good forward lean in stance and displays outstanding initial quickness. Has experience playing DT and NT. Takes sound angles to the ball and makes plays in pursuit. Is playing with a better motor as a senior. He can take on blocks when he stays low. Generally wraps up upon contact and is an adequate open field tackler. Athletic, flashes the ability to redirect inside after setting blockers up to the outside and is a relentless pass rusher. Moves well laterally and runs line stunts well. Shows adequate awareness, times jumps well and he gets hands up when isn’t going to get to the quarterback. Blocked two kicks in 2006 and can contribute on special teams.

Weaknesses: Inconsistent effort earlier in career. Is he a one-year wonder? Plays too high at times and will lose his power when he does. Not disciplined enough. Gets sucked inside and upfield too often. Needs to do a more consistent job with his hands and can take too long to shed blocks.

Overall: In his first three seasons at North Carolina (2004-’06), Balmer appeared in 30 games (11 starts) at defensive end and defensive tackle, recording 34 tackles (7.5 for losses) and 3.5 sacks. As a senior in 2007, he started all 12 games and delivered 59 tackles (9.5 for losses) and 3.5 sacks. He had right knee surgery following the 2005 season and missed two games in ’06 after suffering an ankle sprain. Balmer could play DE in a three-man front but we think he’s better suited to play DT or NT in a 4-3 scheme in the NFL. Regardless, he is tall and strong with adequate bulk and outstanding quickness. Balmer can take on blocks, disrupt plays in the backfield and collapse the pocket  but only when he wants to. While he finally displayed first-round ability as a senior, NFL teams must be concerned about this one-year wonder. Prior to 2007 we viewed Balmer as a talented underachiever and the question is whether the light has finally come on or if he will revert to old, lazy habits following his big NFL payday.

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