49ers hopeful No. 2: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
It’s rare to see interior linemen selected early in the NFL Draft, barring a top-end prospect like the Indianapolis Colts’ guard, Quenton Nelson.
And some may argue it’s rarer to see a center drafted so high.
However, Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum should be in a different class, and it wouldn’t be shocking whatsoever to hear his name called in the 20s by some team looking to reinforce the center (no pun intended… OK, there is) of its offensive line.
There are plenty of those teams, for what it’s worth.
The Niners are already enamored with Iowa’s offense, having drafted tight end George Kittle and quarterback C.J. Beathard in recent years, meaning Linderbaum would eventually be a seamless fit. And with San Francisco looking at the hard reality of having to find a would-be replacement for 36-year-old center Alex Mack, who is reportedly mulling retirement already, having someone like Linderbaum fall towards the end of Round 2 would be a dream scenario.
Even if Mack returns, Linderbaum should be good enough a prospect to upgrade one of the 49ers’ two guard spots in year one.
The long-term play, however, would be inserting Linderbaum into the starting center role, and the Niners would figure not to lose too much once Mack finally calls it a career.