We've gone through breakdowns of the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends, so now it's time to focus on the rest of the offense - the up-and-down offensive line. Since these posts are mostly being done by different people, we're getting some different opinions. As it happens, I'm a bit happier with the offensive line than I think a lot of you are.
To recap, folks seem to be pretty happy with quarterback, running back and tight end. Can't say the same for wide receiver, but I'm interested to see how folks view the offensive line. We've got Joe Staley locked up for a good amount of time, while Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis are playing on rookie deals. Jonathan Goodwin is here for the time being, while guys like Mike Person and Daniel Kilgore are also on rookie contracts. Alex Boone is good to go, with a four-year extension this past season, as well.
Chilo Rachal and Adam Snyder, both of the 49ers' right guards, are listed as free agents. I know who the 49ers want to bring back, and I know it's obviously the same guy you good folks want to bring back. Big shocker there, right? After the jump, we'll take a look at the individual players and how they performed.
I thought Staley started off the season rather poorly, relative to what I was expected. I know he worked hard in the offseason and I expected a much more calculated and mistake-free player. That's not what we got. We got a player who was more physical than in year's past, but one who still jumped too early, missed assignments and generally didn't look like a leader out there. I've actually always considered him to be underrated - he's more athletic than some say, and he's stronger than we generally give him credit for, and he showed that in the second half of the season. Staley was strong in the second half and he only wavered when, hilariously, Chilo Rachal came in on the right side of the line.
Iupati had some bad games this season, which is about on par with his rookie campaign. You can probably blame that on the fact that he still has not had a full offseason to improve since his rookie year. That being said, Iupati was a mauler most of the time. While I'm against "beast" and "mauler" and things of that nature most of the time, it really does fit Iupati in a big way. I'm always struck by just how quick he is and how well he moves in space. For a negative, he still made plenty of mental errors and does have a ways to go to become the guard we all know he can be.
Goodwin was easily the most disappointing player through the first three or four games, and even had me going as so far as to say it was a wasted signing. As it happens, he just really needed some time to grow into the scheme, because Goodwin was possibly the best player on the line by the end of the season. He blocked well in the run game and he was solid in pass protection. I don't know that he has a bunch of those kinds of years left in him, but for now, the 49ers can concentrate on improving other positions on the line.
I've been a big fan of Snyder for years and I might be a bit biased, but he has finally found his spot at right guard. If you ask me, it's not a position that needs immediate upgrade, because he played extremely well this season. He's not the most physically gifted lineman out there, but he's intelligent and consistent. He makes blocks on the move very well, but does struggle with full-on bullrushes. Still, he's a rock for now, and the 49ers don't have to rush, say, another rookie into the position, in my opinion. San Francisco should re-sign him.
Ah, Anthony Davis ... if not for Rachal, Davis might get a lot more flack than he does. As it stands, he's ridiculously inconsistent, on a game-by-game basis. Davis doesn't get beat once a game, he gets beat for entire games. Which means he also holds steady for the duration of some games. That's his biggest issue, it's either a high high or a low low. Jason Babin could abuse him 10 times in one outing, or he'll sit there like a rock and toss away pass-rushers like it's nothing. He's still very young, but he's still got a long way to go. Given his inability to get back on the horse after being beat once, it's likely all mental.
Boone is hard to gauge because he's played such limited time. There are folks on here who absolutely love him and think he's a tackle of the future, and while I'm a huge fan of the guy, when it comes to rating his skills, I'm taking a skeptical approach. He was solid when he filled in, and since it was such limited time, there's not much more that can be said. He's a big, physical presence that will toss a guy around here and there, but we don't know if he's consistent or mentally tough. At any rate, it's hard to argue against him being extended for the four years he was this past season. A very solid backup, at the very least.
Oh, Chilo. You are just ... just not very good, really. He's a dominating blocker in the run game when he actually collides with the guy he's supposed to, and sometimes he's able to throw himself in the way of a pass-rusher, but as it stands, he's a bundle of missed assignments and that's a big problem. I will say that when he came in near the end of the season for some fill-in duty, he played well. Probably not well enough to erase his past issues, however, and he may walk in free agency.
Kilgore remains a guy with decent potential as a backup guard but it's hard to see him doing much more than that. There's really nothing to go on here.
He was inactive all season and, while he's listed as an offensive tackle, he'll do anything he can to show the 49ers he can be a versatile backup to make the roster next season.
Remains a favorite of the coaching staff, will stick around as long as the 49ers can get away without putting him on the roster. There's a chance he makes it next season, but he'll need to show something in the preseason.