San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Erik Pears is not the most intriguing option, nor is he the most popular among Bay Area fans. Nonetheless, his veteran leadership, compiled with his versatility to play guard and tackle, was good enough to earn him a starting job on last year’s shaky offensive line.
After OTAs, he was projected to start at right tackle yet again — a position that’s been a question mark since the departure of one-time starter Anthony Davis.
The 49ers have made it perfectly clear they are willing to unload veterans who are blocking the development of their younger players. However, there are still key positions on the team that they would rather fill with an experienced player.
Hence the reason Pears was projected as a starter, despite the growth offensive tackle Trent Brown showed last season.
The reinstatement of Davis shakes things up a bit. Despite taking a year off, Davis will be the starter come Week 1. He’s not only lost 40 pounds, but his level of play makes it look as though he never left the game, according to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area.
Brown is the heir apparent to tackle Joe Staley, when he eventually leaves the game, and the versatility of rookies John Theus and Fahn Cooper makes Pears expendable.
The reason he should make the team is because of his veteran leadership, not his level of play. But withDavis shoring up his side of the line, Pears will fall too far down the depth chart to make the 53-man roster.
Next: Vance McDonald