49ers roster: Grading each position halfway through scuffling 2021 season

D.J. Jones #93 and Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
D.J. Jones #93 and Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Alex Mack, Trent Williams, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers center Alex Mack (50) and offensive tackle Trent Williams (71) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Offensive Line

“Inconsistency” might be the best word to describe how well or poorly the 49ers offensive line has played this season.

Just take a look at the contrast between this unit’s efforts in Weeks 8 and 9, first against a good Chicago Bears defensive front, sans EDGE Khalil Mack, where the Niners allowed zero sacks and zero quarterback hits. A week later against the Arizona Cardinals, sans defensive tackle J.J. Watt, this same unit surrendered five sacks and eight quarterback hits.

It’s been that kind of season.

Right guard Daniel Brunskill has easily been San Francisco’s biggest liability, yet second-round rookie Aaron Banks continues to be a weekly inactive despite being drafted to upgrade over Brunskill. And now, the 49ers are going to be forced to work their way through the rest of 2021 without right tackle Mike McGlinchey, who has shown improvement over what was a lackluster campaign a year ago.

Tough blow. Now, the hope is for fifth-round rookie lineman Jaylon Moore to plug the gap well enough.

If there’s one positive, Pro Football Focus ranks left tackle Trent Williams with the No. 1 overall grade out of all O-linemen this season with a 96.1 mark. That’s near perfection.

Probably a big reason why Football Outsiders has this unit fifth best on the year in pass protection, but the No. 14 overall ranking in run support needs to improve. Doing so without McGlinchey makes that tough.

Grade: B-