The San Francisco 49ers’ offensive line is going to need a lot of help this offseason, and Niner Noise looks at a few options in the 2018 NFL Draft to address it.
There are plenty of problems the San Francisco 49ers have in 2017, and all of them have resulted in a 0-9 start to the season.
But one of the key issues has been, without question, the offensive line.
Put all the other needs aside for a moment. A year ago, Football Outsiders ranked the Niners’ O-line 30th in pass protection and dead last in run support. There were some moderate changes made between then and the start of 2017, namely adding guards Brandon Fusco and Laken Tomlinson, but the improvement hasn’t been great.
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Through nine weeks, Football Outsiders now ranks this unit 22nd and 15th, respectively.
Sure, there’s some hope for the current crop as it stands. Left tackle Joe Staley (eye) remains serviceable. And second-year offensive guard Joshua Garnett (knee), a first-round draft pick, should return healthy in 2018.
But Staley will turn 34 years old before next season. And Garnett’s recovery is a question mark at best.
Needless to say, the Niners need to take a hard look at substantially upgrading the O-line this offseason. Especially to protect their newest investment, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, in coming seasons.
Whether or not this is done through free agency or the NFL Draft is anyone’s guess. But let’s take a look at some of the latter options.