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DeForest Buckner exited and top-draft pick Javon Kinlaw entered for a 49ers defensive line that could key a Super Bowl return.

Last year’s showing made the NFL take notice.

Nick Bosa got Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Arik Armstead got a contract extension. And Dee Ford, well, he got surgery on a problematic knee issue.

The 49ers know their strength remains their defensive front, and with depth especially important amid COVID-19 uncertainty this season, here is who’s on that unit as camp opens:


Defensive end Nick Bosa: Look for a double-digit sack total and more all-around amazement in an encore that could merit consideration for All-Pro honors and NFL Defensive Player of the Year. A year ago, Bosa arrived with durability concerns, and he did not miss any ensuing games while racking up nine sacks in the regular season then four more in the playoffs.

Defensive tackle Arik Armstead: He slides back into his role as a defensive end in base and interior lineman on passing downs. That recipe paid off with a career-high 10 sacks last season and then a five-year, $85 million deal with $40 million guaranteed.

Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw: His power as a 3-technique will help compensate for the loss of Buckner (traded to the Indianapolis Colts). Drafted 14th overall out of South Carolina, Kinlaw has a tremendous supporting cast to mentor him, headlined by position coach Kris Kocurek.

Defensive end Dee Ford: Knee tendinitis and hamstring injuries limited his workload and productivity (6 1/2 sacks), so offseason surgery could be what he needs to fulfill his high-priced promise.


Nose tackle D.J. Jones: He flashed with his first two career sacks and timely stop last season before an ankle injury kept him from the playoffs. He could see more action but likely will be a run specialist as their truest nose tackle.

Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas: He hasn’t produced many memorable plays three years since being drafted No. 3 overall, so it’s no surprise the 49ers did not pick up a pricey option for 2021. But his versatility could come in especially handy this season. He’s overcome so much personal adversity in recent years and looks as determined as ever to succeed.

Defensive end Ronald Blair: Grinding his way back from anterior cruciate ligament repair, Blair opened camp on the active/physically-unable-to-perform list. Blair is beloved by defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, but this remains a prove-it season physically for the fifth-year vet.

Defensive end Kerry Hyder: The 49ers are his fourth team in six years. He’s compiled 10 sacks through stops with the New York Jets, Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys.

Defensive end Jonathan Kongbo: He’s coming off a CFL Grey Cup championship and could win a Super Bowl if his ACL-repaired knee and increased bulk prove NFL-caliber. He has a fascinating background worth learning about his road from Congo to British Columbia to the University of Tennessee.

Defensive lineman Kentavius Street: If “Baby Hulk” still can’t shake his knee problems, he’ll have a tough time making the roster, although he remains practice-squad eligible.

Defensive tackle Jullian Taylor: He tore his ACL in the final full practice last regular season, so he’ll need more time to recover. The expanded practice squad also makes sense for him, once medically cleared.

Defensive tackle Kevin Givens: He stuck around last year as an undrafted rookie but played only in the regular-season finale at Seattle. If he refined his skills over the offseason, keep an eye on his potential.

Nose tackle Darrion Daniels: He could have the best shot of this year’s against-all-odds undrafted class. He served as a Nebraska captain upon being a graduate transfer from Oklahoma State.

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Grey’s Anatomy season 17 will have a time jump to tackle coronavirus reveals star Giacomo Gianniotti

GREY'S Anatomy season 17 will have a time jump to tackle coronavirus star Giacomo Gianniotti has revealed.

The hit medical drama is yet to return to production after the global pandemic, but it has been confirmed the virus will become part of the storyline in the 17th season.

4Grey's Anatomy season 17 will have a time jump to tackle coronavirus star Giacomo Gianniotti has revealedCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Giacomo, who plays Andrew DeLuca, has revealed it will be set a month and a half into the pandemic.

He told Entertainment Tonight: "We're going to start the season about a month and a half [into] full COVID, so it's going to take place a little beyond where we left off in the last season.

"We might have some flashbacks. We might have some things where we're referencing last season, just to have context leading up.

"But we are going to have a little leap when we start this season in terms of time. We're not picking up right where we left off."

4Giacomo, who plays Andrew DeLuca, has revealed season 17 will be set a month and a half into the pandemicCredit: Getty Images - Getty 4The hit medical drama is yet to return to production after the global pandemic, but it has been confirmed the virus will become part of the storyline in the 17th seasonCredit: Getty Images - Getty

The move follows on from season 16's makeshift finale, which saw the DeLuca struggle with his bipolar disorder.

Asked how his character copes with his own health condition and a global pandemic, he said: "I think he thrives in chaos and he certainly proved that in past seasons that when there's a lot going on, he steps up.

"This is going to be an obviously stressful situation, but I think an exciting one where he can really shine and then thrive."

Meanwhile, it was revealed last month that Giacomo's co-stars Richard Flood and Anthony Hill have been promoted to series regulars for season 17.

Most read in DramaSO EXCITED! Saved by the Bell trailer sees alum Elizabeth Berkley spoofing pills sceneANOTHER TWIST? Bachelorette fans believe new season will feature THREE womenKODY WHO?Sister Wives’ Meri shades Kody with ‘only kinda care’ tee-shirt amid family feudExclusiveONTO THE NEXTMorgan Stewart and ex beg judge to speed up divorce as she reveals engagementExclusiveGETTING HELPMama June and boyfriend Geno checked into Florida rehab early this yearINCH PERFECTHow tall are the Selling Sunset Oppenheim twins and what's their net worth? 4It was revealed last month that Giacomo's co-stars Richard Flood and Anthony Hill have been promoted to series regulars for season 17Credit: Getty Images - Getty

Meanwhile recurring member Stefania Spampinato has joined the cast of Station 19.

Producer and showrunner Krista Vernoff said: "I am so excited to add Anthony Hill, Stefania Spampinato and Richard Flood to the Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy families.

“They are huge talents who made a big impact with our fans, with our casts, and with our writers who are eager to write more for them.”

Flood joined Grey’s in season 16 in a recurring role as Dr. Cormack Hayes, a paediatric surgeon, while Hill guest-starred last season as Dr. Winston Ndugu, a man from Maggie’s past.

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