No. 1: 49ers Offensive Tackle Mike McGlinchey
In 2018, head coach Kyle Shanahan was looking to revamp his offensive line and made something of a surprise move by adding former Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey with the No. 9 overall pick in that year’s NFL Draft, subsequently trading away their former starter, Trent Brown, to the New England Patriots.
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McGlinchey was known for his run-blocking prowess and not so much for his pass protection in college, and that trend generally continued over into his first two years at the NFL level. During his rookie season, McGlinchey was tabbed with five sacks allowed and a noticeably high 39 pressures surrendered, according to Pro Football Focus. While he allowed one more sack in 2019, the pressures dropped to 28 and McGlinchey’s run-blocking efforts remained nearly as consistent.
This suggests McGlinchey improved his pass protection quite a bit between the two years. Now entering year three of his pro career, one can assume McGlinchey has honed his skills well enough to be a competent starting tackle in support of both the run and pass.
It’s important, too.
The 2021 draft class is suggested to be deep with offensive linemen, and this upcoming campaign will be proof enough to San Francisco to decide whether or not it wants to keep McGlinchey around as a long-term part of the team’s future. His fifth-year option is still pending, or the 49ers could look at a possible extension to be discussed in year four of his rookie contract.
Either way, one can both hope and expect McGlinchey to emerge as a cornerstone piece for the Niners O-line this upcoming season.