Why 49ers offensive line gets better, worse in 2020

Offensive tackle Justin Skule #67 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Offensive tackle Justin Skule #67 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Ben Garland, 49ers
Offensive lineman Ben Garland #63 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

Why 49ers offensive line gets worse in 2020

Numerous changes along an offensive line always create a risky scenario. Frequently, the best offensive lines in the NFL are comprised of good-quality players who play together for years on end.

Heading into 2020, the 49ers are swapping out at least two of their starters, potentially three.

The third not previously mentioned hinges on the health of center Weston Richburg, who suffered a serious season-ending knee injury during the Niners’ Week 14 road win over the New Orleans Saints. His backup, Ben Garland, performed admirably for a reserve player. Yet his 59.1 overall Pro Football Focus grade suggests he’s more of a liability than a bonus. Richburg is expected back in time for training camp, which is good. But the lack of offseason workouts in 2020 could ultimately mean his return for the regular season is questionable.

Garland wasn’t much of a liability in pass protection, however, surrendering just one sack and six pressures, per PFF. Instead, the prime culprit in this area was Mike McGlinchey, who was tied for the team lead in sacks allowed (six) with backup lineman Justin Skule while being charged with the most pressures allowed (28).

For a former first-round pick who looks as if he’ll stay on the right side of the line, one would hope to see improvement there.

Then, of course, there’s the wonder if Daniel Brunskill’s ascent from undrafted ranks to a 73.0 overall PFF grade was a mere anomaly.

Assuming Brunskill wins the starting job over Compton, of course.