We continue our pre-bowl season breakdown of the top prospects at positional rankings of note for the 49ers. Today, we take a look at another pressing need on the offensive side of the ball, the offensive line positions.
As we get closer to a year in review for the 49ers’ offensive lineman position, results show some need of improvement with inconsistent play plaguing the unit, namely at guard and center. As a collective, the unit has done a good job, but there is always room for improvement. The bookends at tackle have done well with Mike McGlinchey showing great promise and Joe Staley still playing with the passion that drives his success, although Staley’s eventual replacement could be in the cards. Laken Tomlinson has impressed and Mike Person is on his final year of his contract. Weston Richburg has been average thus far and competition at the position could make things exciting.
As this is the beginning of NFL Draft season, keep in mind the rankings will be fluid and future rankings will inevitably feed your draft appetite. Nonetheless, let us know what you think in the comments below.
Jonah Williams, OT, No. 73 - Alabama, Height: 6’5” | Weight: 301
A premier offensive tackle and potentially one of the top prospects in the entire 2019 draft, Jonah Williams is an athletically gifted technician with great length (long arms) and agility playing with a savvy attacking mentality. A force in the run game, the junior displays light fluid feet, great explosion, and has showcased more physicality to his game rolling his hips after engagement driving defenders off the ball walling them off and/or towards the ground finishing blocks. The former five-star prospect has a nice pop at the point of attack with violent hands (heavy hands), and also displays the excellent ability to reach the second level with a quick fluid movement and sound awareness quickly engaging and swallowing second level defenders in a heartbeat cutting off blocks, as well as, displaying excellent mobility and range when pulling working on leverage on outside runs.
Utilizing his long arms, lateral quickness, balance, and a quick first-step, Williams easily mirrors defenders in pass protection with a smoothness to his game, proper technique, and an impressive ability to quick-set mirroring defenders with suddenness and fluidity adjusting to movement and redirect. Moreover, Williams has shown the capacity to improve throughout his collegiate career with improved technique in keeping hands high and inside providing a solid jolt/punch at the point of attack maximizing his strong hands and arm length locking out his vines to sustain blocks away from his frame for long periods of time. He also brings versatility with the capability to play both tackle positions.
Trey Adams, OT, No. 72 - Washington, Height: 6’8” | Weight: 327
Adams entered the 2018 collegiate season poised to bounce back from a torn ACL on his right knee he injured during Week 7 of October 2017. The mountain of a man had huge expectations for his senior year competing as one of the top offensive tackles in the 2019 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, Adams’ return was abruptly halted with another season ending injury (back injury). Now back and healthy, Adams is excited to move forward. It is very likely Adams will return to Washington for his fifth season next year, but as one of the top collegiate offensive tackles when healthy, keeping an eye on him until final decisions have been made would be prudent. Nevertheless, he brings tremendous size, length (long arms), quickness, and athleticism to a frame that moves around the field with impressive fluidity.
Adams is an athletically gifted bruiser with a condor-like wingspan displaying active and heavy hands jolting defenders and showing a great ability to square up opponents and initially control defenders utilizing length, solid technique, and power punch to finish opponents with speed and strength. The former high school standout on the basketball court showcases a quick first-step, fluid lateral quickness, balance, solid technique, and an impressive athletic ability to quick-set easily mirroring defenders with suddenness and fluidity adjusting to movement sliding laterally and redirecting. He shows a great ability to anchor in pass protection dropping his weight and hips anchoring to engage power rushers. Moreover, Adams’ fluidity and quickness allows him to display the athletic ability to swing his hips blocking in space when reaching the second level and is adept at utilizing angles and combo blocks. The biggest concern for Adams is if he can return to pre-injury form, so medical checks will be huge for him to determine his draft value.
Tyler Biadasz, C, No. 61 - Wisconsin, Height: 6’3” | Weight: 307
One concern amongst some NFL talent evaluators/coaches is the lack of quality depth at the offensive lineman position. A theory, frequently mentioned, behind the decline of talent is due to the poor development of the position at the college and/or high school level. Whatever the reasons are, when there is a school with a history of churning out NFL quality talent, eyes are drawn like flies to - well, you know. Wisconsin is one of those schools to keep an eye on, especially this year where five Badger offensive linemen could be available for the 2019 NFL Draft.
All five are talented, well coached, and will likely find their way on to an NFL roster someday soon, but one prospect in particular has caught my gaze with his impressive play and development. Although he is a redshirt sophomore, Tyler Biadasz is an athletic intellectual mauler at center who continues to improve his game. A former three sport (football, baseball, basketball) high school athlete, Biadasz is a leader on the field displaying smooth athleticism and quickness off the ball with excellent foot agility easily capable of snapping the football and firing off the ball moving laterally fluidly outmaneuvering defenders with speed and sealing with hip flexibility, leverage, and power. He showcases great change of direction skills maintaining balance and is an effective blocker in space reaching the second level with quickness and solid power behind his pads jolting defenders with heavy hands. A true Wisconsin offensive lineman bestowing the smarts, toughness, technique, and discipline the school is known for.
Garrett Bradbury, OG/C, No. 65 - NC State, Height: 6’3” | Weight: 300
A highly respected leader on and off the field, Garrett Bradbury commands a group of NC State offensive linemen known as the “Band of Brothers”, and according to Pro Football Focus, an offensive line unit ranked seventh in the nation (through Week 6). The former tight end is an athletic and smooth prospect with great agility and is lauded for his high football IQ. A technician on the field, Bradbury utilizes solid hand placement in concert with fluid and light feet exploding after the snap quickly anchoring with excellent lateral agility adjusting to movement maintaining balance (functional strength is a work in progress). He displays excellent movement and quickness excelling in pulling and reaching the second level quickly taking advantage of angles and displaying the athletic ability to swing his hips blocking in space.
The 49ers have shown improvement with their offensive line unit as the season progresses; nevertheless, it is a unit in need of consistency and depth. Along with Bradbury, two other NC State prospects to keep an eye on are OG Terronne Prescod (No. 70) and OT Tyler Jones (No. 53). Although Bradbury is recognized for his outstanding awareness and leadership commanding the offensive line with precision and authority, all three are interior offensive linemen prospects suited to play in a zone blocking scheme.
Garrett Brumfield, OG, No. 78 - LSU, Height: 6’4” | Weight: 303
Garrett Brumfield is an athletic bruiser that plays with a nasty mentality. Although he can be a bit aggressive running past defenders, Brumfield plays with his hair on fire and finishes with violent intentions. An intelligent leader on and off the field, Brumfield is a tough and powerful guard prospect with agile feet and excellent movement skills. He displays top-notch quickness excelling in pulling and reaching the second level quickly taking advantage of angles and displaying the athletic ability to swing his hips blocking in space. He flashes great technique, but will need consistency with hand placement and tends to be a waist bender lunging wildly at times.
As mentioned before, the 49ers offensive line is a unit in need of consistency and depth. With Mike Person set to be a free agent at the end of the season, and who knows what happens with Josh Garnett, the future of the guard position needs to be addressed. Luckily, Garrett Brumfield is one prospect who fits the mold to play in a zone blocking scheme and could be on the radar to keep an eye on.
Player measurables courtesy of team pages.