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49ers depth chart 2017: Are they better, worse or the same on the offensive line?

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The 49ers return most starters on the offensive line ... but is that a good thing?

NFL: Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers offensive line is probably the biggest glaring issue on the entire roster. The line, at its best, features good to great pass blockers and below average to above average run blockers. Joe Staley is a rock at the left tackle position, while Trent Brown has his moments at right tackle. Daniel Kilgore at center has been very effective at times, but he seems to be getting worse the longer he plays.

Then there’s Joshua Garnett, a very raw guard with a very high ceiling. He was not a starter at the beginning of 2016, but became one eventually. Andrew Tiller was the starting guard at first, after Anthony Davis re-retired, and Garnett eventually took over at right guard.

But if we’re discussing differences between 2016 and 2017, at least at the start of the season, Garnett isn’t a factor anyway because he’s on injured reserve. This year, Brandon Fusco is the starting right guard, with Laken Tomlinson, a former first-round pick by the Detroit Lions, the primary backup at guard.

Zane Beadles returns at left guard, which is the definition of “whatever” and Marcus Martin is out, a relief because he was terrible. Erik Magnuson is a much more capable backup.

2016 OL depth chart

LT: Joe Staley
LG: Zane Beadles, Joshua Garnett
C: Daniel Kilgore, Marcus Martin
RG: Andrew Tiller
RT: Trent Brown, John Theus

2017 OL depth chart

LT: Joe Staley, John Theus
LG: Zane Beadles, Laken Tomlinson
C: Daniel Kilgore, Erik Magnuson
RG: Brandon Fusco
RT: Trent Brown, Garry Gilliam

So, as we’ve done with other positions, we have to ask: are the 49ers better off now than they were a year ago when it comes to the offensive line? On its surface, it doesn’t look that different, but I think Gilliam is a competent swing tackle, Magnuson is a better backup than Martin and Fusco is probably around Tiller’s level.

But on top of that, I think Kilgore is worse now than he was a year ago. He can bounce back, but I don’t expect it at this point. How do you guys feel about it?


Are the 49ers better, worse or the same on the offensive line compared to the start of 2016?

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