49ers depth chart: 3 players who benefit from Justin Skule injury

Justin Skule #67 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Justin Skule #67 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Justin Skule, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Justin Skule (67) Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers likely lost backup offensive lineman Justin Skule for the year with an ACL tear, but these three players stand to gain from his setback.

The San Francisco 49ers were forced to define the “next man up” philosophy in 2020 when they dealt with a massive number of injuries and ended up being one of the most injury-depleted rosters in recent NFL history.

While head coach Kyle Shanahan is hoping that trend doesn’t continue into 2021, he’s already dealing with some potentially serious injury setbacks this offseason.

Namely, the probable season-ending injuries to defensive back Tarvarius Moore and offensive lineman Justin Skule.

Skule, in particular, tore his ACL during OTA practices last week, prompting a corresponding move of grabbing former Houston Texans lineman Senio Kelemete. And while Skule was by no means guaranteed to make the Niners’ regular-season 53-man roster, given some of the team’s offseason adds up front, he was at least a prime candidate to secure one of three or four depth slots behind Shanahan’s presumed cast of offensive line starters this season.

There’s no getting around the fact it was a rough blow for the third-year pro, who was entering a crucial year that could define what he career trajectory was going to be.

At the same time, though, Skule’s injury presents that “next man up” theory and puts it into practical form, especially how there are a number of other linemen on the depth chart who now stand a better chance to hang around into the regular season. While most, if not all of them were on the bubble, Skule’s absence opens up both the possibility of increased looks in training camp and more reps during the preseason.

Here are three such linemen who actually benefit from Skule’s otherwise unfortunate setback.