Niners DC Mangini: We can't just replace Aldon Smith


Eric Mangini sits with the unenviable task of leading a San Francisco 49ers defense that has seen major pieces exit the building.

Play NFL Fantasy Football!

The losses have been recounted many, many times this offseason, but the most recent exit is likely the one that stings the most: Aldon Smith.

"He's not a guy you can just replace; he's got a unique skill set," Mangini said, per the San Francisco Chronicle. "But one of the things we've focused on defensively is building flexibility in terms of what we can play."

The 49ers losing their most talented defender leaves a huge pass-rushing void that Mangini needs young players like Aaron Lynch to fill -- Corey Lemonier and rookie Eli Harold will also take outside linebacker reps.

One option the defensive coordinator could take to manufacture a rush is blitzing, which the Niners were working on even before releasing Smith last week.

Mangini has "done more blitzes this offseason than we've seen in the previous six combined," left tackle Joe Staley said.

Regardless of how he goes about solidifying his defense, Mangini knows a player like Smith won't be walking through the door to help him out.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast covers the latest on Aldon Smith's release and breaks down the training camp stories flying under the radar.