49ers Offensive Line (9)
LT Trent Williams
LG Aaron Banks
C Alex Mack
RG Daniel Brunskill
RT Mike McGlinchey
OT Jaylon Moore
OL Spencer Burford
C/G Dohnovan West
OL Nick Zakelj
There is a fair amount of flux happening along the 49ers offensive line heading into the 2022 season.
And it’s got a fair chunk of the fanbase more than a little concerned.
While it took until the fourth round, the team did start to add to its O-line depth with the selection of UTSA lineman Spencer Burford with pick No. 134 overall, followed by adding Fordham tackle Nick Zakelj with selection No. 187 overall in round six.
Add them to last year’s draft picks in the form of Notre Dame guard Aaron Banks and Western Michigan tackle Jaylon Moore, as well as 2020 draftee, West Virginia product Colton McKivitz, it’s hard to accuse the 49ers of not bringing in players to try to fill those holes.
Yet there remains some trepidation, mainly because the question marks around some of these players — namely Banks, who is all be locked in as a starter for 2022 — are abundant. Will Mike McGlinchey still be an effective if flawed player after his injury-plagued 2021 season? Is Alex Mack retiring? What role will Daniel Brunskill play on this team?
One thing is sure, outside of stalwart left tackle Trent Williams and Mack, the youth movement is on for the O-line. Especially in the backup roles.
Part of the reasoning behind that is because the Niners haven’t brought in a veteran option to fill one of the slots as they have through much of Kyle Shanahan’s tenure as head coach.
So it will be up to the kids to step up and be ready to play if called upon.
As starters go, provided Mack is returning, Williams, Banks, Mack, and McGlinchey appear to be in place, with the right guard spot up for grabs. For now, Brunskill seems the most likely, although he like most of the projected depth guys, has versatility at his disposal.
If, for example, Moore becomes a guard and wins the job, Brunskill becomes a valuable and moveable chess piece as needed at every position. The same could be said for Burford, who has played everyone except for center in his career. And the team may view Zakelj as a guard long-term as well.
The interesting name here is the presence of UDFA Dohnovan West out of Arizona State, who also has experience all along the interior line and could be a player the team likes enough to keep as a healthy scratch on game days but who can learn from Mack in 2022.
The 49ers certainly seem to like him, as they snatched him up immediately after they made the final pick of the draft and gave him a $10,000 signing bonus and guaranteed him $100,000 for this season.
That doesn’t guarantee him a roster spot, but it does bode well if he shows out in camp.
One other UDFA name to watch is Mercer guard Jason Poe, a former fullback who can do this at 300-plus pounds.