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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Shon Coleman, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Shon Coleman (78) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 3: 49ers OL Shon Coleman

It’s strange to think San Francisco has employed veteran offensive tackle Shon Coleman since the start of the 2018 season, but he has yet to take a regular-season snap with the team since.

That year, he wasn’t needed. The 49ers’ offensive line enjoyed a clean slate of health. But in 2019, Coleman suffered a serious ankle injury and missed the entire year before electing to opt out in 2020 because of the pandemic.

When the Niners drafted Justin Skule back in 2019, Kyle Shanahan told reporters one of the primary reasons was for Skule to compete directly with Coleman for the primary swing-tackle role — a competition that hasn’t fully played itself out since.

The thought was the same scenario would pan itself out again, especially after San Francisco has since drafted two more linemen, Colton McKivitz and Jaylon Moore, in back-to-back NFL Drafts. Under normal circumstances, one might assume Coleman would have been pushed the periphery as an aging veteran no longer needed in light of younger, cheaper players already on the roster.

But with Skule out, and Coleman’s prior experience at the NFL level carrying weight in spite of his lack of playing time recently, it might be purely out of need for San Francisco to keep Coleman around for one more season.