The San Francisco 49ers offensive line had its share of issues last season, and the offseason has brought a sizable overhaul to the unit. The team signed center Weston Richburg and guard Jonathan Cooper, drafted tackle Mike McGlinchey, and then traded away tackle Trent Brown. The hope is to build a unit that can find a little more consistency and keep Jimmy Garoppolo upright.
The 49ers do have something to build on, but the changes to at least three of the five starting spots means it is not exactly an apples to apples comparison. Pro Football Focus ranked out each offensive line by 2017 pass blocking efficiency. The 49ers ranked No. 14, and interestingly enough, Daniel Kilgore had the top PBE. Here’s what PFF had to say:
The 49ers offensive line fielded the most-improved unit in football in 2017, as the team improved their pass-blocking efficiency from 71.7 in 2016 (29th of 32 teams) to 79.0 in 2017. One major reason for this was the outstanding play by veteran left tackle Joe Staley, who allowed just 24 pressures all season and ended the year with a PBE of 96.7, ranking 10th among tackles. Going into the 2018 season, the 49ers will certainly hope that the addition of rookie tackle Mike McGlinchey will help bolster the line, as McGlinchey allowed just 16 pressures on 411 pass-block snaps throughout his final season at Notre Dame.
The 49ers will have a new center, right tackle, and right guard, with Laken Tomlinson likely returning as the team’s left guard. Weston Richburg and Mike McGlinchey are locked in at center and right tackle, while Joshua Garnett, Jonathan Cooper, and potentially Mike Person are competing for the right guard spot.
The big questions for this year will be how McGlinchey adapts to the pro game, and how the guards perform around Richburg. There are certainly no guarantees with Richburg, but one of the issues for Kilgore last year was having inconsistent play from the guards around him. If the two guards can can settle in, that bodes well for the two veterans that are viewed as strengths, and of course, the rookie McGlinchey.