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OTAs provide a chance for the 49ers drastic OL turnover to settle down

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The San Francisco 49ers will be starting at least three new players on the offensive line in 2018. OTAs will be slightly important for that groupo.

The San Francisco 49ers kick off their organized team practice activities (OTAs) on May 21st. Those will run through June 7th, followed by mandatory minicamp June 12th through 14th. This is as important a period as any in the offseason. Players have been going through classroom work, and had individual work on the field. OTAs and minicamp are when teams really get to implement the playbook and get players ready for training camp.

This also means players can take a step forward in competitions for either a starting job or simply a chance to make the roster. We’re less than two weeks away from the start of OTAs, so I thought now is a good time to preview each position heading into the on-field workouts.

Today, we move on to the offensive line. I had considered doing tackle, then guard, then center, but there is potential cross-over for some of the players that it’s worth keeping them all together.

Depth chart

OT: Joe Staley, Mike McGlinchey, Garry Gilliam, Darrell Wiliams, Jamar McGloster
OG: Laken Tomlinson, Joshua Garnett, Jonathan Cooper, Erik Magnuson, Najee Toran
C: Weston Richburg, Mike Person, Alan Knott, Coleman Shelton

The 49ers had a massive overhaul of the offensive line. Joe Staley remains locked in at left tackle, but the team will have at least three and possibly a fourth new starter on the line. The team signed Daniel Kilgore to a contract extension, only to trade him after they then signed Weston Richburg in free agency. They spent their first round pick on Mike McGlinchey and then traded Trent Brown the next day. Finally, they signed Jonathan Cooper and welcome back Joshua Garnett from injured reserve to compete with Laken Tomlinson for the two guard spots.

The 49ers released Zane Beadles on Monday, and then added interior depth on Wednesday when they signed G/C Mike Person. He will compete with Erik Magnuson for interior reserve work, although it remains to be seen what happens to the one of Cooper, Garnett, and Tomlinson who loses out in the guard competition. Erik Magnuson offers the most versatility of the offensive lineman, showing an ability to play all five positions last season.

What OTAs mean for the position

There are three things to take from this. The first is the starting guard competition. We won’t see fully padded practices, but who is getting the most first string snaps could be useful information. Of course, watch the 49ers have an even rotation throughout.

The second is getting whatever the starting line is a chance to build some chemistry. Again, the opportunities are not the same in OTAs as they are in training camp and preseason games, but it’s valuable time together.

The third is the reserve competition. Reserves need to show versatility, so whomever is best picking up their assignments across positions will be in position to take control heading into training camp. Erik Magnuson and Garry Gilliam are the early front runners, but Mike Person and Darrell Williams are two guys to keep an eye on.