49ers keep getting linked to BYU’s Blake Freeland in NFL Draft
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers need a long-term answer to replace Mike McGlinchey at right tackle, and Blake Freeland is a name who keeps popping up in NFL Draft chatter.
There are either a number of NFL Draft analysts who are thinking the same way with regard to the San Francisco 49ers, their needs and their three Round 3 selections in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Or, there are a number of analysts who are simply piggybacking off each other’s ideas.
One of those ideas involves an offensive tackle out of BYU, Blake Freeland, who finds himself either mocked to the Niners or discussed as a plausible target with pick Nos. 99, 101 or 102.
San Francisco does have a need at right tackle, too, after losing its starter there from the last five years, Mike McGlinchey, in NFL free agency to the Denver Broncos. While reserve lineman Colton McKivitz appears to be a favorite to start, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the 49ers go after a starting-caliber replacement.
Someone like Freeland fits the bill.
PFF joins many NFL Draft pundits who suggest Blake Freeland to 49ers
As noted, there is no shortage of suggestions and mocks that link the 6-foot-8, 302-pound Freeland to the Niners. One NFL.com mock draft by Chad Reuter had Freeland going to San Francisco at No. 99 overall, and it’s certainly not the only time the lineman’s name has been mentioned in 49ers circles.
Now, Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner tabs Freeland as an ideal day-two pick by the Niners, describing it as the following:
"Freeland is one of the most athletic tackles of all time, and he even set the combine record for offensive linemen with a 37-inch vertical. That athleticism played in a zone scheme at BYU, where he earned an 87.9 run-blocking grade. He’s still a project in pass protection with serious play strength concerns, but that may cause him to fall right into the 49ers’ lap at the end of the third round."
Ironically, one might say that the scouting report isn’t unlike that of McGlinchey coming out of Notre Dame in which his own pass-blocking skills were questionable in light of top-level run blocking.
Related Story: Line of scrimmage a theme in recent Niners mock drafts
San Francisco might have the ability to target Freeland and take a “wait and see” approach with his development, provided someone like McKivitz can hold the line.
If that athleticism is maintained while Freeland’s pass blocking improves, the 49ers may be blessed by letting McGlinchey walk.
Freeland would have to both fall to the end of Round 3 and be picked by the Niners, of course.