Rounding Out the Depth Chart
We can likely assume the 49ers will keep at least three, possibly four, backups to reinforce the starting crop along the offensive line this season.
The best bet, of course, would be to have players versatile enough to double at other positions. This was already this case with centers Jeremy Zuttah and Daniel Kilgore on the previous slide, where Kilgore winds up taking over the left guard spot.
But who else will San Francisco keep?
Zane Beadles’ contract could be reason enough to keep him around if the Niners were in a poor cap situation. But the team doesn’t have to worry so much about cutting him, should it choose to do so.
Remember, though, Beadles made starts at left tackle, left guard and even saw snaps at center in 2016. This flexibility makes him both an excellent swing-tackle candidate, as well as an “uber” backup of sorts.
Brandon Fusco might be on the roster bubble this offseason, although a gut feeling has him making the 53-man cut.
Sure, the Minnesota Vikings 2016 offensive line was anything but pretty, and Fusco was a part of it for 14 games last year. But his veteran prowess and ability to work at both guard spots makes him a likable backup.
Like Fusco, the Niners would probably benefit from having a larger veteran presence along the offensive line than a rookie UDFA.
Barnes was a full-time starter for the Los Angeles Rams the last two years and is a solid backup option behind both Zuttah and Kilgore, especially considering the latter’s injury history.
This would probably push swing tackle Garry Gilliam out of the roster equation, although it’s hard to see that being much of a loss.
As for the rest, well, a handful of UDFAs may wind up on the practice squad. But there isn’t much to like about such a raw group of rookies with regards to starting in 2017.