Erik Magnuson was one of the big surprises of the 49ers 2017 training camp, coming in as an unheralded UDFA tackle from Michigan, and sticking with the team as the backup center. He played in four games, including one at right tackle due to injuries, and did fine. Not great, but not Beadles-bad either.
He injured his foot against the Seahawks in game 12 last year, when the team was most short-handed due to injuries, and made the questionable decision to keep playing on his taped up foot despite hearing it pop. It worked out, as he finished the game and was cleared medically before OTAs began, but you hate to see players risk their careers, especially on a team that was 1-9 at that point.
Age: 24 (turns 27 on )
Experience: 1 accrued season
He signed a 3-year, $1.669 million contract last year with a meager $4,000 signing bonus. (I wonder if he ran out and bought a 1995 Toyota Camry or Honda Accord with that windfall?) His $10K in total guarantees was paid out last year, so the team will keep all of his $555,000 salary if they cut him.
Why he might regress in 2018
His Lisfranc injury needs to have healed fully for him to play well. Magnuson was not great last year, as much as he was just better than the alternatives on a very bad offensive line. This offseason, though, the team has added significant talent, drafting tackle Mike McGlinchey with the 9th overall pick and signing two veterans (center Weston Richburg and guard Jonathan Cooper) as free agents. First round pick Joshua Garnett is also returning at guard. Magnuson may simply not be good enough for this rebuilt offensive line.
Why he might improve in 2018
He’s young, has NFL tackle size, and is a scheme fit due to his ability to move in space. Being young, with only four games played, he obviously could improve his technique and strength if he sticks in the league.
Magnuson played just one drive with Jimmy Garoppolo, who makes all of his lineman better with his instincts and quick release.
Odds of making the team
I’d say 60-40. Magnuson’s ace in the hole is his versatility, since he showed that he can play all three positions on the line in the NFL. When it’s time to decide who to keep as a backup, that is invaluable.