Offensive tackle Trent Brown surely benefited from his 2018 trade to the New England Patriots. But the San Francisco 49ers also benefited by putting then-rookie tackle Mike McGlinchey immediately into a starting role.
Just days ago, Niner Noise explored why the New England Patriots, who’ll represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIII, benefited from the draft-day trade of offensive tackle Trent Brown from the San Francisco 49ers.
Brown appeared to benefit, too.
“I just feel like me coming here with all the bull crap that’s been said about me and my name has been slandered,” Brown said from Atlanta leading up to the Super Bowl, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Me coming here and shattering all those bad things that have been said about me, I think that’s helped me out a lot.”
Indeed, Brown moved to left tackle and immediately secured quarterback Tom Brady’s blind side successfully. For the Patriots, who lost veteran left tackle Nate Solder to free agency in 2018, the trade sure looks like a win.
Yet the Niners won the deal, too. You just have to know where to look.
Brown’s trade, of course, made sense after San Francisco selected former Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey at No. 9 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. A day later, Brown was off to New England. Right tackle was McGlinchey’s alone.
McGlinchey is the antithesis of Brown. Brown has always been steady in pass protection, whereas McGlinchey’s strength is in run blocking. Again, on the surface, that would appear to be a loss for San Francisco, primarily due to the fact the NFL is a pass-first league now.
The rookie right tackle gave up four sacks in 2018, which doesn’t look great. But head coach Kyle Shanahan wanted to get his run game going last year. In this area, McGlinchey was exceptional. Pro Football Focus gave McGlinchey the third highest run-blocking grade in the NFL last season (78.2).
Brown’s was 64.6 — 31st among qualifiers.
In 2017, Shanahan was forced to frequently design run plays to the left side of the line, avoiding Brown’s lackluster run-blocking skills in a zone scheme. With McGlinchey in the picture, the 49ers run plays could go either direction with effectiveness.
The results showed. Two years ago, the Niners averaged 4.1 yards per rush with the team’s primary ball carrier, running back Carlos Hyde, managing only 3.9 yards per attempt. Last season, the overall average jumped to 4.5 yards per carry. Second-year running back Matt Breida, who wasn’t even supposed to be the team’s starter in 2018, saw his average YPC jump from a respectable 4.4 his rookie year to 5.3 last season — fourth best in the NFL.
There are obviously a number of other factors at play here. McGlinchey’s presence isn’t the only thing that benefited San Francisco’s ground-game improvement. But he certainly helped push it in the right direction.
Meanwhile, Brown and the Patriots benefited, too.
So, if you’re looking for a win-win situation for both sides, it looks as if this 2018 trade worked out well.
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