No. 5: Weston Richburg
Our first surprise comes here at No. 5. Most of you weren’t expecting to see Weston Richburg up here, especially considering that he hasn’t even played a single snap with the team.
San Francisco 49ers
This spot came down to either linebacker Reuben Foster or Richburg. The reason Foster wasn’t selected is that he’s already missing the first two games of the season. If the 49ers are already going to lose Foster, then there is no way that he being gone would hinder the season. That’s not to say that Foster is a worse player than Richburg.
Choosing Richburg is rather more of an indictment on the 49ers’ offensive line depth as a whole. As I mentioned earlier, injury importance is directly related to the replacements and the team’s strengths. The 49ers don’t have a lot of offensive line depth. The most likely backup to Richburg, Erik Magnuson, is a former tackle who hasn’t played a regular season snap at center.
To quantify how weak the center position is behind Richburg, here are some stats. Richburg was graded at 71.3 by Pro Football Focus following an injury riddled 2017. In 2015, Richburg was graded at 86.5, and over the course of his career has only allowed four sacks. Magnuson was graded 41.7. That’s an extreme decline, not to mention Magnuson is relatively unknown.
Losing Richburg would severely weaken the offensive line, causing several problems for the entire team. The protections would be off, possibly leading to a Jimmy Garoppolo injury or just an inefficient offense.
Apart from Richburg, there are other surprises for this list to follow.