Starter: Joe Staley
Backup: Erik Pears
There aren’t any questions about left tackle Joe Staley starting in 2016. But veteran offensive lineman Erik Pears still assumes the swing-tackle role even after the return of right tackle Anthony Davis from his one-year retirement.
Why? Well second-year pro Trent Brown doesn’t have the experience necessary to protect the quarterback’s blind side just yet. And the same could be said of rookies John Theus and Fahn Cooper, if either even make the 53-man roster.
Pears earns a roster spot based on his ability to play either tackle position, as well as his flexibility to move to the inside.
While 2015 wasn’t Pears’ best campaign (10 sacks allowed, per Pro Football Focus), he’s probably the best backup option San Francisco has right now.
Next: Left Guard