After watching our quarterbacks get pressured and sacked at an alarming rate the last several years, I have been a big proponent of adding quality offensive linemen to the team. I was always happy to see the 49ers draft high round and well respected offensive line men; only to see our pass protection remain among the worst in the league. I just assumed we either have horrible coaches, bad scouts or are very unlucky. After reading Florida Danny's post yesterday, I see now that we have been drafting big scary linemen that excel at run blocking while ignoring the slightly less enormous tackles that excel at pass protection.
So given the 49ers' desperate need for a quality pass protecting offensive tackle, who should we draft with our first pick? I don't watch much college ball so all I have to go off of is all the analysis and opinions floating around the internet. Based on my research (over the last few minutes while I have been eating my lunch), Russel Okung is the best all around OT and a great pass protector. However, he will not be available when we pick. Then there is Bruce Campbell (who Al Davis will likely grab), Anthony Davis (who is mostly a run blocker and has a questionable work ethic), Bryan Bulaga (who many at niners nation like, but he too is mostly a run blocker) and finally Charles Brown.
Good ole Charlie Brown. If Lucie pulled the football away at the last second, he would kick her through the goal posts. Charles Brown has been an elite pass protector for the Trojans since he got on the map protecting the blind side of Mark Sanchez. So if he is so great, why is he not ranked higher on draft boards? As Florida Danny explained; the NFL is in love with size, especially when it comes to O-linemen. Charles Brown was reported to be 6-5 and 290 pounds by the Trojans.
Sadly (for the 49ers at least) Brown gained 10 pounds and performed well at the combine so he may not be available when the 49ers pick.
So assuming the 49ers take a OT with their first pick, who do you think it should be?
Note: Some may question the worth of getting a pass blocking OT to play right tackle. Recall that many of the sacks on our QB last year came from the right side. Maybe Staley would eventually move to RT. There are lots of possibilities. The fact is that our QB is not changing this year (like it or not) so the only way our horrible pass offense will get better is if we have better pass protection. Until our pass offensive is taken seriously, we will not be able to run the ball no matter how great our O-line is at run blocking (they can’t block everyone when all the LBs and safeties are in the box).