Niner Noise’s annual “Who Is?” series on San Francisco 49ers takes a look at 2017 undrafted free-agent offensive lineman, J.P. Flynn, and his potential this offseason.
The San Francisco 49ers didn’t have the luxury of upgrading their offensive line via the 2017 NFL Draft, but they were able to manage a number of undrafted free-agent pickups.
One of those was former Montana State offensive lineman J.P. Flynn.
Flynn, a four-year starter, received first-team All-Big Sky honors in 2016, according to his Draftanalyst.com bio, and had similar honors in 2014.
At 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds, Flynn probably best projects as a guard at the NFL level.
The Niners could use some extra reinforcements along the O-line this offseason. And while the 2017 draft didn’t provide a deep crop of prospects to target, it will be interesting to see whether or not Flynn has the chance to crack the back end of the roster.
He’ll have an uphill battle ahead of him though.
San Francisco 49ers
Why He’ll Improve
According to the same bio, Flynn’s best attributes are his football smarts and ability to provide more-than-adequate run blocking.
The latter is of particular concern to San Francisco, whose O-line ranked dead last in the league last year in run support, per Football Outsiders.
Flynn’s size is clearly a sign of strength in the trenches. He’s not the kind of player to be easily pushed off a block and into the pocket, which should bode well to interior blocking schemes.
Why He’ll Regress
While size is an attribute in a power scheme, the lack of flexibility and agility is likely a detriment in a zone-blocking scheme — one which the Niners will run this season.
Flynn is capable of handling blocks right in front of him but, according to his draft profile, struggles to move across the line and engage defensive linemen in motion.
And with many prospects playing at smaller programs, the lack of elite-level competition may be a cause for concern when going up against more talented defenders at the pro level.
What to Expect in 2017
Flynn is a long shot to make San Francisco’s roster in 2017. But he has similar traits and history to a former 49ers UDFA pickup, New Mexico’s Dillon Farrell, who was picked up in 2014 and played in eight games that year.
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One notable difference is the Niners have a lot more depth at the interior O-line positions heading into this season. Potential starters include Zane Beadles, Joshua Garnett, Daniel Kilgore, Jeremy Zuttah, Tim Barnes and Brandon Fusco, among others.
The best shot J.P. Flynn might have is to try and land on the practice squad, which is probably the best-case scenario in 2017.
Still, it’s going to be a tough road for the former Montana State project to stick around even when the team’s practice squad is assembled.