Why Browns' Stefanski thinks Elliott suits 49ers' defense

Orlova, Florida — Former Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski offered an explanation as to why 49ers defensive tackle Jordan Elliott would be a better scheme fit than prior free-agent signings.

Acclimating to San Francisco's expectations of going off the line and after opposing quarterbacks took Randy Gregory and Chase Young a while, even with the support of defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. Elliott, who spent four years with the Browns before signing a $10 million, two-year deal with the 49ers earlier this month, is not going to be affected by that, according to Stefanski.

"Elliott fits the scheme well," Stefanski said Monday at the NFL Annual Meeting. Kris Kocurek, who has experience playing in this system, will be an excellent fit for Jordan. He is skilled at avoiding the ball. This is fantastic news for Jordan. Sad to see him go. He's an amazing human being.

Unlike Gregory and Young, who were acquired during the season, Elliott will have a whole offseason to work with Kocurek. Elliott, selected in the third round of the 2020 draft, has made 66 appearances and was a starter for the majority of his last two seasons with Cleveland. During his career, he has managed to rack up 98 tackles, including five sacks, eight solo stops, and ten quarterback hits.

Elliott, who will be paired with Javon Hargrave, will help cover for Javon Kinlaw, who has joined the New York Jets, and Arik Armstead, who was released and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"Excellent young man," Stefanski remarked about Elliott. We had the opportunity to draft Jordan and see him develop throughout his time with us. Nice guy, yet he's also a huge, strong football player. Elliott can help block the middle of the field with his 6-foot-4 and 303-pound frame, which should make it harder for ball carriers to get in between the tackles.

"He looks good when he takes his hands off the ball," Stefanski remarked. Being disruptive in the run game and knowing how to rush the passer are two of his strengths.

The 49ers are looking to their defensive line to step up their game in 2024. It wasn't terrible as a unit last year, but it wasn't good enough, either, and Steve Wilks was fired after just one season as defensive coordinator because of it. Nick Sorenson, who has been an assistant for the 49ers defense for two years and is familiar with its structure, was promoted to take Wilks' spot.

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