Yesterday, we had much more realistic (in my opinion) responses to the confidence post than we had in the first, when we voted on Ricky Jean Francois. It seems that folks on Niners Nation like Reggie Smith and what he brings to the table, but nobody is jumping the gun, and to me that's indicative of someone who can be a solid starter. When there's not extremes one way or the other (for the most part), I've found that players stand a better chance of succeeding. David Baas, Frank Gore, Justin Smith - all players who were viewed with a level head (just a couple examples) and ended up delivering much more than that. Let's hope that Reggie Smith can be that guy.
Today, we've reached the right guard position on the offensive line. It's the most unstable position on the line (though not necessarily the weakest) and any one of four people currently on the roster could be the guy starting next year, as crazy as that sounds. The leading candidate for the job as it stands is Chilo Rachal. Rachal was a guy who the 49ers reached a little bit for in the draft, and he's never lived up to his potential. He has a history of starting very slowly and disappearing for long stretches of time, but when he's on - he's definitely on.
Contrary to popular belief, Rachal did not have a bad 2010 campaign. He started slow, once again, and of course he struggled at times, but I would call his performance solid progress. You could see him look more fundamentally sound in run blocking and wasn't completely lost in pass protection for the first time. Most people saw pressure come in from the right side, but that was more a product of Anthony Davis coming in and being very raw, and Eric Heitmann's veteran presence being absent to Rachal's immediate left.
I'd say behind Mike Iupati and David Baas, Rachal was the best offensive linemen. Joe Staley did play well before getting injured, but Sims and Davis were definitely inconsistent. The main point is that I saw a lot of power and technique from Rachal in at least eight games this season, which isn't nearly enough, but if he can continue to progress, I feel good about him.
Looking at confidence levels (in the event that Chilo Rachal is the starter at right guard in 2011), I'd say 10 illustrates that Rachal will satisfy his potential and be one of the better right guards in the league. 7 and 8 would be average to above average, while a 6 still implies average, you're just not really solid on it. Anything under is self explanatory, I am personally right around 6, just because he's so inconsistent.