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49ers primed for best linebacking corps of all time?

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio says the 49ers linebacking corps of Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks has potential to be among all time greats.

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The San Francisco 49ers have one of the best defenses in the league and its anchored by their linebacking corps of Aldon Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis and Ahmad Brooks. Willis anchors the defense, while Bowman leads the team in tackles and Smith leads both the 49ers and the league in sacks with 16.5.

As Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area writes, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who coached the New Orleans Saints all-time great linebacking corps of Rickey Jackson, Sam Mills, Vaughan Johnson and Pat Swilling, said this week that the 49ers current quartet has the chance to be one of the best all time.

"I think the potential is there, but we've got to do it. We all know what the word potential means. [The Saints] did it for seven straight years together, this is really our first year together as a starting unit," he said.

The 49ers signed Bowman to a five year contract extension earlier this week, which means all four starters are now signed through 2015.