49ers may have solved their biggest need in the 2024 NFL Draft

The 49ers selected G Dominick Puni from Kansas with the 86th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Here's what the athletic guard will bring to San Francisco.
Kansas offensive lineman Dominick Puni (67)
Kansas offensive lineman Dominick Puni (67) / Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA

If there is one image burned into San Francisco 49ers fans' memories in the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch era, it is Kansas City defensive tackle Chris Jones running free into the backfield, disrupting two potential Super Bowl victories.

After addressing other positions in the draft, the Niners finally tackled the offensive line with guard Dominick Puni from Kansas with the 86th pick of the NFL Draft.

Puni, a 6-foot-5, 312-pound mountain of a man, played tackle at Kansas after transferring from Central Missouri. He ran a 5.12 40-yard dash, and his draft stock rose significantly following a great performance at the Senior Bowl.

What Dominick Puni will bring to the 49ers

Though Puni played tackle in college, his arm length will push him to the interior offensive line in the NFL, an area in which San Francisco needs help. With Aaron Banks needing a potential contract extension soon and Spencer Burford being unable to take the next step to secure a starting position, Puni might have an avenue to contribute immediately.

Scouting reports of Puni highlight exceptional lateral quickness and the ability to reach the second level, both skills that are crucial to playing offensive line for San Francisco. Puni's size potentially speaks towards a more powerful blocking stance, which can help the 49ers in those gritty interior runs.

His high-level versatility, with the possibility of playing outside at tackle, only adds to his strengths for the 49ers.

Areas of potential concern

Scouting reports also highlight a high pad-level and an inconsistency in sustaining blocks, both elements that can lead to being pushed around by NFL-caliber defenders. Additionally, Puni may not be able to handle the athletic nature of some specialized pass-rush specialists.

Overall takeaways

The 49ers needed to address the offensive line at some point in this draft, both a present need and a future concern. While Puni may not be the heir apparent to All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams many were hoping for, he is a ready-made starter at guard who could be in the mix as soon as training camp to take over at right guard.

The Niners were aggressive, moving up from pick No. 94 to grab Puni. Hopefully, they made the right move.

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