3 biggest concerns for 49ers with Week 1 just around the corner
By Peter Panacy
No. 3: 49ers offensive line must stay healthy because depth is thin
San Francisco should feel both satisfied and concerned for its offensive line heading into 2021.
Satisfied because the team kept perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams in uniform and also added another Pro Bowler in center Alex Mack, solidifying a spot that was a rotating door because of injuries a year ago.
Concerned because the depth behind the starting fivesome of Williams, Mack, Laken Tomlinson, Daniel Brunskill and Mike McGlinchey isn’t particularly good.
This might not have been as big an issue if rookie second-round guard Aaron Banks won the starting job over Brunskill, allowing the latter to revert back to his uber-versatile primary backup entering 2021, which would have given the 49ers maximum value for both drafting Banks and having a starting-caliber reserve for all five spots.
But Banks didn’t win the job, suffered a preseason injury and will kick off the season as an untested backup needing a lot of work.
Fifth-round rookie Jaylon Moore effectively won the swing-tackle job, yet he also showed why he was a day-three NFL Draft choice and not a high-profile prospect. And having the veteran, Tom Compton, as another backup option shouldn’t instill much confidence either.
None of this will matter if the Niners’ starters up front stay healthy. But O-lines can easily suffer attrition at a rate higher than many other units, and this threat could be one element that completely derails San Francisco’s offensive efforts in 2021.