Earlier this week, Mike Mayock posted his first positional rankings of the 2016 NFL Draft season. On Thursday, we took a look at quarterbacks, and earlier today we took a look at inside linebackers. We're going to continue moving through these position-by-position, and for this post we move over to the offensive line.
I decided to combine guards and centers since we sometimes see players move back and forth between those two positions. Here's how Mayock ranked out the top five guards and centers in the 2016 NFL Draft:
1. Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
2. Vadal Alexander, LSU
3. Joshua Garnett, Stanford
4. Christian Westerman, Arizona State
5. Graham Glasgow, Michigan
1. Ryan Kelly, Alabama
2. Nick Martin, Notre Dame
3. Max Tuerk, USC
4. Evan Boehm, Missouri
5. Jack Allen, Michigan State
The 49ers offensive line was a disaster at times in 2015, and struggled with injury issues in 2014. The offensive line was one of the big reasons for the 49ers offensive success in 2011, 2012, and 2013, so getting that rectified will be an important part of getting this thing turned around.
With free agency and the draft still in front of us, the 49ers have some potential internal offensive line options. Joe Staley is set at left tackle. Andrew Tiller would seem a strong bet to get one of the guard positions. Daniel Kilgore returned from his injury to take back the center job. That would leave two positions. Trenton Brown showed some signs at right tackle, and the team could get Anthony Davis back at some point. Jordan Devey was simply not good, and Erik Pears seems better suited for a backup role. After that, Marcus Martin has struggled, Brandon Thomas has done nothing, and Alex Boone is likely to depart as a free agent.
Could the 49ers go offensive line early to bulk up the unit and get better protection for the quarterback? Or do you think they primarily build from within, and only add some depth later in the draft and/or in free agency?