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74 days to 49ers kickoff: The guy who wore it best wears it now

The San Francisco 49ers season starts in 74 days. We take a look at jersey No. 74, worn by a familiar face.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA Today Sports

The San Francisco 49ers kick off the 2015 NFL regular season on Monday Night Football, on September 14. That game is now a mere 74 days away from kicking off their 2015 regular season. In the spirit of that approaching date, I thought I would steal this idea from our Oakland Raiders site.

Who wore it best: OT Joe Staley (2007-present)

I had an interesting debate in my mind on this one. Using the basics of career approximate value, Steve Wallace gets the edge. Eight seasons in the starting lineup made up a solid career for Wallace. And of course, he had the double helmet that I don't think any early-to-mid-90s 49ers fan will forget.

However, I think it is fair to name the current left tackle the best player to wear No. 74. Joe Staley has eight years under his belt, and in some ways he only seems to be getting better. He has earned three second team All-Pro nods, and four straight Pro Bowl berths. Not too shabby. He is two seasons from joining the 10-year club, and if he lasts most of the rest of his contract, I don't see how he won't be in the pantheon of 49ers offensive linemen. Some might argue he already is, but I figure I am inclined to be a little more conservative for now.

Whatever the case, Staley remains a great presence on the 49ers offensive line. The 49ers are going through a significant transition on the line, with Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis departing (who knew both 2010 draft picks would leave at the same time!). Alex Boone is due to hit free agency next year, and we are still waiting to see how things will shake out with Marcus Martin, Brandon Thomas, Daniel Kilgore and so many more.

The 49ers have some talented offensive linemen, but they all need to come together as a cohesive unit. Having a leader like Staley will be a boon for the group.