5 bubble-watch players 49ers simply can’t afford to cut in 2022

Dontae Johnson #27 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Dontae Johnson #27 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Justin Skule, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Justin Skule (67) Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers bubble player No. 1: Offensive lineman Justin Skule

Sticking with the 49ers’ offensive line theme here, depth was a serious question mark for this unit a year ago, and the losses of Alex Mack and now-New York Jets left guard Laken Tomlinson during the offseason didn’t help matters much at all.

Even to a lesser point, swing tackle Tom Compton’s departure to the Denver Broncos hinders things, too.

The Niners are poised to get starting right tackle Mike McGlinchey back from a quad tear he suffered halfway through the 2021 season, yet he might not be at 100 percent in his recovery. Regardless, having a quality swing tackle on the roster is always a must.

There are plenty of options, yes, including returning veterans like Colton McKivitz, Jaylon Moore and Justin Skule, the latter having missed all of last year because of an ACL tear. Even rookies like Spencer Burford or Nick Zakelj should be considered in the mix.

Of that entire crop, though, Skule by far has the most experience with 12 starts at various positions over the two years he played before his injury.

In OTAs, Skule has been working at tackle with both the first- and second-string units, meaning it’s likely San Francisco is pushing him to be a swing tackle this season.

As long as he doesn’t flame out or aggravate last year’s injury, the 49ers should keep it that way and retain him on the roster.

Next. 4 reasons to be concerned about 49ers offensive line. dark