49ers 7-round mock NFL Draft with Super Bowl 56 in the books

Commissioner Roger Goodell (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Commissioner Roger Goodell (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa Hawkeyes center Tyler Linderbaum (65) Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images /

11. player. 878. . Offensive Line. Hawkeyes . Tyler Linderbaum

Round 1, Pick No. 11 Overall (from Commanders): OL Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa

Grabbing offensive linemen early in the NFL Draft isn’t particularly sexy a move. But San Francisco should have taken note from the previous two Super Bowls, including the Rams’ formidable defensive line — a unit the 49ers face twice a year — chewing up the Bengals offensive line to the tune of seven sacks, with the realization a strong O-line can be the difference between reaching the championship and falling well short.

The Niners could easily lose Pro Bowl left guard Laken Tomlinson to free agency this offseason, and the early signs of 2021 second-round rookie Aaron Banks haven’t been promising for a long-term replacement.

Plus, veteran center Alex Mack has been mulling retirement and will likely need to be replaced soon at this stage of his career anyway.

Kyle Shanahan has long loved Iowa’s offense, onboarding former Hawkeyes in quarterback C.J. Beathard and tight end George Kittle, so going after center Tyler Linderbaum at No. 11 would be a smash pick.

Linderbaum, a fantastic center and one of the top linemen in this year’s draft, could spend his rookie season as a guard, either replacing Tomlinson or upgrading over Daniel Brunskill at right guard, before taking over for Mack.

Considering how big an emphasis Shanahan puts on centers, not skipping out on a key reinforcement here would be a wise move.