The San Francisco 49ers are still a number of players away from serious playoff contention in 2019, and Niner Noise ranks out the top five roster needs this offseason.
Unfortunately, the San Francisco 49ers aren’t just a player or two away from legitimately being viewed as Super Bowl contenders when the 2019 regular season rolls around. And while there are a number of already-filled position groups, as well as promising ones, the reality is general manager John Lynch will need a pretty good offseason to get the Niners close to having a relatively complete roster.
To do that, however, he’ll need to know what the roster shortcomings are. There are more than a handful.
San Francisco’s defense should garner the majority of the attention, particularly after it gave up a total of 435 points over the course of 2018 — fifth worst in the NFL. But there are also needs on offense, too, meaning Lynch will have to closely look at spending a good chunk of his $60-plus million in available cap space, as well as dishing out some of the team’s six selections in the 2019 NFL Draft this April.
As far as his positional needs go, here are the five most needing attention this offseason, be it through the draft or NFL free agency.
No. 5: Offensive Guard
At the start of 2018, offensive guard might not have been seen as a team strength, but it certainly wasn’t a glaring weakness. The 49ers extended left guard Laken Tomlinson, signed versatile free-agent lineman Mike Person and placed former first-round draftee Joshua Garnett into a backup role.
Tomlinson suffered an MCL injury in Week 17, however, which could delay his availability into training camp. Person is a free agent — one the Niners would be wise to re-sign — and it’s anyone’s guess how Garnett fits into head coach Kyle Shanahan’s long term plans.
Overall, Football Outsiders ranked San Francisco’s offensive line 10th in run blocking but 22nd in pass protection. The interior is widely viewed as the top problem within this unit. Even if Person is re-signed, one wouldn’t be shocked to see the 49ers make a few moves to address depth and spike some competition at guard.
Especially for long-term preparations.