San Francisco 49ers: Full Depth Chart & Roster Predictions for 2016 Season
By Peter Panacy
Tackles: Joe Staley, Trent Brown, Erik Pears, Fahn Cooper
Guards: Zane Beadles, Joshua Garnett, Andrew Tiller, Brandon Thomas
Center: Daniel Kilgore, Marcus Martin
Players Cut: Alex Balducci, Colin Kelly, Blake Muir, Norman Price, Ian Silberman, John Theus
One has to give credit to 49ers general manager Trent Baalke for his efforts in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Two of his 11 overall picks were spent on the defensive line. Another three reinforced the offensive line — one of San Francisco’s worst units last season.
Khaled Elsayed of Pro Football Focus ranked the Niners O-line No. 27 in the league last year and a lowly 30th in run support. Needless to say, some changes were needed on the part of Baalke.
San Francisco parted ways with veteran guard Alex Boone and lowly guard Jordan Devey. The team then added free-agent Zane Beadles to take over Boone’s spot. In the draft, the 49ers selected former Stanford run-mauling guard Joshua Garnett in Round 1 along with tackles John Theus and Fahn Cooper.
Veteran left tackle Joe Staley starting doesn’t concern anyone. Beadles may be a slight step down from Boone, although it’s possible he thrives back in head coach Chip Kelly’s inside-zone offense.
Daniel Kilgore taking over at center should relieve anti-Marcus Martin fans — although Martin likely stays on the roster as a backup, who can double at guard. And the 49ers will want to get Garnett into the fray as soon as possible, especially considering their run-blocking woes from a year ago.
So that leaves the right tackle spot open as well as depth.
Trent Brown may be the favorite here, although he was reported to be out of shape for the start of OTAs. Veteran offensive lineman Erik Pears, who finished 2015 with a minus-30.7 PFF grade, received first-team reps during OTAs, per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area.
A guess would suggest the 49ers really want Brown to assume the starting job but are willing to fall back on Pears.
And Pears gets the edge over Theus for the swing-tackle role as well, which means the latter is a cut candidate but, possibly, destined for the practice squad. Fellow rookie Cooper may not quite be ready for a full-time starting role.
Next: Tight End