Not by a long shot.
The 6-foot-5, 318-pound defensive tackle, however, used his voice for good during his rookie season with the 49ers.
The fifth-round draft pick out of Alabama started the year on the team’s non-football injury list after a toe injury hampered his participation in offseason practices. But when Dial was sidelined, he used his time to study the workout habits of his veteran teammates. In doing so, he picked up a valuable lesson.
Speak up when you want to learn how to play like
Dial observed Smith and the rest of the 49ers defensive linemen working on a pass-rushing maneuver taught by position coach Jim Tomsula. The young lineman also recognized Smith using it to his benefit during games.
So Dial, soft-spoken in nature despite his massive size, approached Smith about the technique.
“He showed me how do it and ever since I’ve been using it,” Dial said. “Since that day when he helped me out, I feel like I can ask him anything and he’ll help me out.
"You just have to be brave and ask.”
Dial’s toe issue is very much a thing of the past. The second-year pro said he felt fully healed by Week 14 of his rookie campaign.
The brief experience on the field helped Dial’s confidence going into his first full offseason in San Francisco. Instead of watching his teammates go through practice, he’s getting to do everything with them.
“I’m getting a better feel for things now,” Dial said. “I know the playbook, I know everything. I’ve been out there doing it.”
Jim Harbaugh praised his entire defensive line group for its offseason performance.
“All of our defensive line is really doing everything that we ask and doing a very good, precise job,” the 49ers coach said. “It’s been a real good offseason for all of our defensive linemen.”
The group includes second-round draft pick
Dial and Carradine have built a bond from the commonality of their experience as rookies. Their lockers are close by at the 49ers facility.
“It’s been good working with Tank,” Dial said. “He’s a strong guy and he's fun to watch. We just let it go when we’re out there.”
Dial is taking note of all of his fellow defensive linemen. You can tell he has a sense of pride when talking about the depth of the group.
“In my opinion, it’s the best group,” he said. “We have a lot of wise guys, a lot of experience in the room that you can look up to, guys that you can come to if you need anything and ask questions.”
Smith, the 14-year veteran, is the leading mentor. A close second goes to
“I’m in here learning from Justin and Ray as much I can,” Dial said.
The reserve lineman has proven his ability to absorb knowledge when he discusses his plans leading up to training camp.
“I’ve been focused on getting stronger, getting back to what I was doing, addressing double-team blocks, because really with this toe injury I felt like I lost some of my strength,” Dial said.
The 49ers have the next three weeks off until they meet for training camp, but Dial is not stopping his momentum.
“I’m still going to train,” he said. “I’ll probably take a day or two off and then I’ll get right back at it before camp.”
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