San Francisco 49ers: Ranking Each Position in 2016 by Strength
By Peter Panacy
Best Player: Left Tackle Joe Staley
Worst Player: Tackle/Guard Erik Pears
X-Factor: Tackle Trent Brown
The 49ers also stocked up on offensive linemen via the 2016 NFL Draft.
In Round 1, the Niners added former Stanford guard Joshua Garnett. Garnett’s run-blocking abilities should help turn around a unit, which was one of the worst-graded offensive lines in this aspect last season, per Khaled Elsayed of Pro Football Focus.
San Francisco also added rookie tackles Fahn Cooper and John Theus, and this tandem will be competing with second-year pro Trent Brown for the starting right tackle spot.
Free-agent guard Zane Beadles is also now in the fray, and the 49ers have promising guard Andrew Tiller to, at least, provide amicable backup.
Without question, the worst 49ers O-lineman on the roster — who has a shot at a roster spot — is veteran Erik Pears.
Pears finished 2015 with a minus-30.7 overall grade, per PFF, which stood as the worst among all Niners offensive players. He’ll likely retain a roster spot simply because he can play both guard and tackle positions. And having a veteran swing tackle is never a bad thing.
There’s a good amount of promise within this unit, and the 49ers should be commended for trying to make some upgrades here. Yet there are enough questions to keep San Francisco fans from getting too over-hyped about what to expect out of the O-line in 2016.
Next: Tight End