5 areas in which the San Francisco 49ers may regress in 2018

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 24: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked by Yannick Ngakoue #91 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 24: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked by Yannick Ngakoue #91 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 03: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers is pushed out of bounds by Roy Robertson-Harris #95 of the Chicago Bears in the first quarter at Soldier Field on December 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 03: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers is pushed out of bounds by Roy Robertson-Harris #95 of the Chicago Bears in the first quarter at Soldier Field on December 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

No. 4: Offensive Line Pass Protection

The 49ers changed out a sizable chunk of their offensive line during the offseason, headlined by the first-round NFL Draft selection of Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey. In turn, the Niners moved right tackle Trent Brown to the New England Patriots by the way of a trade.

One of the major reasons why was because Kyle Shanahan wanted to improve his offense’s running abilities — an area in which Brown struggled.

McGlinchey was one of college football’s best run blockers last year. But there are question marks about his pass-protecting abilities. In a sense, San Francisco traded one known issue for another potential one.

A year ago, Football Outsiders ranked the 49ers O-line 18th in pass protection. And while Jimmy Garoppolo’s presence helped take a lot of pressure off the unit as a whole, there’s a strong chance this unit will have some difficulty handling the elite-level pass-rushers they’ll face over the course of 2018.

Not just on McGlinchey’s side either.

Free-agent guard Jonathan Cooper posted a pass-blocking grade of just 52.0 last year, while fellow guard Joshua Garnett‘s pass blocking at Stanford was never a strength. And Laken Tomlinson, whom the 49ers inked to a three-year extension recently, allowed four sacks and 39 quarterback pressures in 2017 despite some improvement down the stretch.