San Francisco 49ers: Top 5 Positions Needing Improvement in 2016
By Jerod Brown
The 49ers will have many options to improve this position in 2016. Fortunately, regardless of the route they choose, the right tackle in 2016 will likely be far better than Erik Pears in 2015.
Jeff Deeney of Pro Football Focus has routinely noted the poor play of Pears this year.
Pears largely underperformed this season and was seen as the weakest link on a 49ers offensive line that gave up 53 sacks this season. That number, paired with ineffective quarterback play and questionable play calling, led to a 49ers passing offense that ranked 29th in the league based on yards per game averages.
Pears inability to protect the quarterback was a contributing reason for the lack of success of the 49er offense. With a contract that pays close to two million dollars, it’s hard to think he won’t be cut next season in favor of other players.
The two players that will compete to replace Pears are already familiar with the 49ers, ensuring that the team won’t have to look far for an upgrade.
Trent Brown, who started at right tackle for the final two games of the season, will be the incumbent to earn the starting spot in 2016. His competitor, however, has started at right tackle for the 49ers since being drafted in 2010.
Anthony Davis has said he will return to the 49ers in 2016 and will immediately compete to regain his starting position.
Davis had a shocking retirement in the offseason before clarifying that he wanted to step away and give his body time to heal. Since then, he has tweeted about his comeback and has made it clear he plans on returning to the team next season.
Brown played solid in his limited opportunities at the end of the year but he may not have excelled quite enough to be considered a front-runner moving into the offseason.
The offensive coaching staff next season will likely be choosing between these two when determining who should start at right tackle next season. Although there will be impressive free agents available, the 49ers might be best served to save that money for other positions.
The team will have a choice to make regarding who controls the right side of the offensive line in 2016.
Next: Setting the Edge