The San Francisco 49ers did not draft a single offensive lineman in the 2017 NFL draft, but they are adding further veteran depth to the position. NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport tweeted on Monday that free agent guard Brandon Fusco is headed to the Bay Area and is expected to sign with the 49ers.
I took a few minutes to chat with Daily Norseman writer Arif Hasan to get his thoughts on Fusco. He offered some great thoughts:
In 2013, his third year in the NFL, Brandon Fusco put together one of the best years for a guard the Vikings had seen since Steve Hutchinson. That stands as a puzzling lone bright spot in an otherwise unremarkable career. Starting as a backup center as a rookie, Fusco saw the field in 2012 but struggled and was occasionally replaced by an oft-injured Geoff Schwartz. After his stellar 2013 campaign, his 2014 was cut short because of a pectoral injury and in 2015 played at the left guard spot, where he struggled. The Vikings hoped that returning him to his natural right guard position would help him out in 2016, but neither that nor the year removed from his pectoral injury brought him back to his 2013 form.
When he was good, his best asset was his phenomenal upper-body strength and that seems all but gone now. Other than that, he still has a good understanding of leverage and his awareness of stunts and blitzes has been improving. He developed quick chemistry with a rotating cast at right tackle and understood when and how to peel off double-teams to get to the next level. He has consistently had good anchor against bull-rushes and has an overall nasty attitude.
His issues are movement, technique and a lack of strength. As a pulling blocker or second-level blocker, he doesn't always have a plan for the point of contact and often can't maintain a consistent base. As a technician, he needs to improve his timing and punch placement, as well as his footwork in pass protection. Even when he was at his best, he had issues with quicker defensive tackles as a result. He's big for a center but small for a guard, meaning that he can be moved if he doesn't plant himself perfectly and he's been more consistent as a seal blocker in the running game than someone who drives and creates lanes, especially as of late.