49ers activate Quinton Dial for Sunday’s game
On Thursday, the 49ers cut receiver/tight end Chris Harper to a roster spot in anticipation of this move. Harper was picked up by the Green Bay Packers only a day later.
The 49ers have been deliberating all week between activating Dial or promoting undrafted rookie Mike Purcell from the practice squad to add some depth to their injury riddled defensive line. Earlier this week, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said the best course of action for Dial would be to wait until the 49ers' Week 9 bye before activating him.
"But we're not in a perfect world right now with the status of our defensive line," Fangio also added. "So we've got to do what we've got to do."
However, the team has been particularly thin at nose tackle ever since they lost Ian Williams to an ankle injury earlier this year, while Glenn Dorsey is still recovering from a hamstring injury he suffered last Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals and practiced only Friday. In other injuries across the defensive line, starting defensive end Ray McDonald is also dealing with a biceps injury.
Even though Dial spent the first six weeks of the season on the reserve/non-football injury while recovering from a toe injury – which required surgery in January – and only started practicing three days ago, he is still a more skilled player in comparison to Purcell. Moreover, the fifth-round pick Dial played his last two collegiate seasons at Alabama, which uses a defensive scheme somewhat similar to the one the 49ers currently run. Besides mostly playing defensive end in that scheme, Dial also got several starts at nose tackle during his college days at Alabama.
Hence, Dial seems a good fit to serve backup while second-year player Tony Jerod-Eddie will likely start at nose tackle against the Titans on Sunday.