The 49ers are likely getting one more year out of veteran Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, but reports state they could be seeking his replacement in the NFL Draft.
The San Francisco 49ers are looking at the very real likelihood of serious transitions hitting their offensive line after this upcoming season, namely at two positions: right tackle and center.
On the right, the Niners could end up saying goodbye to their 2018 first-round NFL Draft choice, Mike McGlinchey, who’s signed only through 2022 and will be a free agent. At center, Pro Bowler Alex Mack could very well retire once this year’s upcoming campaign is complete even though he’s signed through 2023.
San Francisco isn’t likely to use two of its relatively early 2022 draft picks to address these two needs, especially considering both are still under contract. Mack is apparently still mulling retirement, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch. Ideally, Mack stays.
However, with five picks on day three of the draft, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see the 49ers search for a potential Mack replacement, as he’ll turn 37 years old this year.
Maybe the Niners have identified a possibility already.
49ers eyeing Mercer’s Jason Poe as a late-round NFL Draft target
According to a report from FanSided’s Justin Fried (of our sister site, The Jet Press), San Francisco is hosting a pre-draft meeting with Mercer interior offensive lineman Jason Poe:
Poe, 6-foot-2 and 295 pounds, is one of those potential late-round gems the 49ers may look to draft and develop if they’re able to get their hands on him on day three of the draft, likely in Round 6 where the Niners hold two compensatory selections at the back end.
Having run an impressive 4.95 40-yard time at his pro day, check out some of his attributes from NFL Draft Buzz:
- Awareness is above-average for his limited experience. Sells trap block and can turn to seal. Fluid getting to and adjust at the second level.
- Has fluid body control with loose hips. Physical and tough with good effort in the run game.
- Plays with a finishing attitude with an aggressive, nasty temperament.
- He’s infinitely coachable and athletically gifted with the ideal frame, physique, weight distribution, knee bend and hand strength to be molded into a special blocker.
- Good natural athleticism, knee bend and fluid lateral movement to mirror college defensive ends.
- Has the agility, technique, and size to contribute early in his professional career. Quick, active hands to latch on to defenders.
- Flashes the ability to move his man with his hands, but is not yet consistent in this area.
- Too often is pushed back into the pocket during pass protection becaus~ he bends at the waist rather than at the knees. Relies more on precise angles than physicality in the running game.
- Not physically imposing and has average overall strength. Upper body gets over his feet too often and he easily loses his balance.
- Finesse blocker with average arm length who doesn’t use his hands well to win at the point of attack.
- Loses leverage battles and plays with high pad level. Can be late off the snap.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has traditionally preferred veterans at center, not rookies or even second-year players, so there would be some concern whether or not Poe could feasibly step into that void if and when Mack retires, provided Poe is even drafted by San Francisco and does enough to make the 53-man roster.
However, the 49ers do have a need to reinforce the depth of their O-line entering this season and to guard against possible attrition heading into 2023, too.
Perhaps Poe winds up factoring into that equation.