The 49ers offensive line is a unit to watch in 2020, both in training camp and the regular season.
In 2018, the San Francisco 49ers enjoyed one of the healthiest offensive lines in the NFL. Only one player among the starters, center Weston Richburg, missed just one start.
But this wasn’t the case in 2019 when the Niners dealt with some serious injuries for four of the five spots up front. Both tackles, Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, missed extended periods of time. Richburg landed on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury, while right guard Mike Person missed two games with a neck injury.
Only left guard Laken Tomlinson started the full 16-game crop on San Francisco’s regular-season schedule.
If there was a bonus to all this, the injuries identified two key players who could hold substantial roles this upcoming season: reserve linemen Justin Skule and Daniel Brunskill. Brunskill, in particular, played three spots along the line and could be a major factor in determining how the starting cast shapes up for San Francisco in 2020.
Speaking of changes, the 49ers also bid farewell to Person while watching Staley, the franchise’s longest-tenured player, ride off into retirement.
Person’s release wasn’t too shocking. But Staley’s retirement announcement during the NFL Draft certainly shook things up. Fortunately, the Niners were able to execute a blockbuster deal with the Washington Redskins, acquiring perennial Pro Bowler Trent Williams for two mid-round draft picks.
Williams is a shoo-in starter despite sitting out all of 2019.
But what about the rest of the depth chart for San Francisco? Including the projected starters, who stays on the 53-man roster and who goes?
Niner Noise offers up some early predictions.