5 prospects 49ers can draft to upgrade the offensive line

The game starts in the trenches, and here's how the 49ers might be able to make theirs stronger in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Arizona Wildcats offensive lineman Jordan Morgan (77)
Arizona Wildcats offensive lineman Jordan Morgan (77) / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Interior Offensive Line. player. 434. Graham Barton. . Graham Barton. . Graham Barton. 5.

No. 5: Graham Barton, Duke

Our final prospect, and the only pure guard/center prospect on this list.

Graham Barton was a tackle at Duke, however, the nature of his skill set (being particularly adept at run blocking), as well as his shorter-than-ideal arm length, means he projects as an interior player in the NFL.

While there's not an especially glaring hole at his most likely NFL position of center (Jake Brendel seemingly being entrenched as the starter), interior rushers seem to be gaining in value, and by correlation, the guard and center market has also blown up to match it. Witness the aforementioned Robert Hunt deal, as well as the Tennessee Titans deal for Lloyd Cushenberry.

Therefore, a solid, versatile interior lineman at a cost-controlled price makes a lot of sense.

Barton himself is an athletic run-blocker who projects well in a Kyle Shanahan zone-blocking system, so it's easy to see the appeal in bringing him in.

He likely upgrades the right guard position early, but his versatility allows him to project as possible depth or a future starter at three of the five offensive line slots. upgrading depth at either center or guard from Day 1.

An unnamed NFC scout also lauded his consistency in this report for NFL.com:

"So much fun to watch a lineman with that kind of consistency and effort on every play. He’s the same player in every game."

NFC scout, NFL.com scouting report

While this wouldn't be the sexiest pick, it is often the kind of pick a consistently successful team makes in the draft: a high-floor, low-ceiling prospect who can add something to the team from day 1.

It seems quite likely that the 49ers will invest at least some draft capital into the offensive line in the NFL Draft, but whether it will be their first-round pick remains to be seen.

Hopefully, this gives you some idea of the options and directions they might be able to take when their time on the clock arrives on April 25.

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