clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

State of the 49ers offensive line: Can Jon Feliciano beat out Jake Brendel?

Asking 5 questions with offensive line guru Brandon Thorn to address how each position stacks up heading into the NFL Draft

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The first wave of free agency is over and the 49ers appear to have their offensive line intact headed into the NFL Draft.

Mike McGlinchey said he expected to sign quickly in free agency, and he wasn’t wrong. He’s now a Denver Bronco, as the 49ers former right tackle signed a 5-year deal worth up to $87.5 million.

Center Jake Brendel re-signed, but he has some competition with former Giants center Jon Feliciano, who isn’t coming to the Bay Area with intentions of riding the pine. The 49ers have valuable depth along the interior with the addition of Feliciano, and that was necessary as it was a role Daniel Brunskill filled during the previous few years.

To get a better idea of what Feliciano brings to the table, how replaceable McGlinchey is, and what to expect from Spencer Burford and Aaron Banks in their second seasons, I reached out to Brandon Thorn, who is a scouting coordinator for OL Masterminds — they train NFL lineman, and works for Bleacher Report, while having his own newsletter and substack.

1) On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most irreplaceable, how much will the 49ers miss Mike McGlinchey, and how big of a step-down would it be for a Day 3 rookie OT?

I would say a 5 or a 6 for McGlinchey, considering I view him as a middle of the pack type of starting RT in the top 13-16 range depending on which version you’re getting, with his run-blocking being fringe top 10 at its best.

It depends on the type of day 3 rookie OT of course, but assuming he would be a below-average starter at best, it’d be a fairly significant drop-off.

2) How familiar are you with Jon Feliciano, and what level of starter was he for the Giants last year?

I’m pretty familiar with Feliciano. Have been watching him since his Oakland days. Last year he was adequate/below average with some closer to average elements to his game (run game/physicality/demeanor). He can be used as a move blocker on pulls, is decent on climbs and brings a tone-setting presence. He’s wild and aggressive, not very good in pass pro when isolated. Can probably get hidden okay in the Shanahan scheme, though.

Were you surprised by Jake Brendel’s season in 2022? Do you think he can sustain another successful season, or was he too inconsistent?

I was surprised by Brendel considering his background, age and career up to that point. I do think he can sustain what he did last year, again, in this system that suits his strengths and can work off his weaknesses as good as any, there’s no better spot for him to at least replicate what he did last year. To help specify, I’d give it like a 60-40 shot that he sustains what he did last year. That is realistic to me.

If you could have one center for a 17-game season, would it be Feliciano or Brendel, and why?

For San Francisco in 2023, if I knew it was 17 games and didn’t have to account for injury, I would lean Feliciano simply based on the talent being similar, with Feliciano bringing more of an edge and tone-setting element that I really think has some hidden value, especially over time.

The 49ers started two first-year starters at guard last season in Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford. Obviously, there were going to be some ups and downs. Should 49ers fans be encouraged about the future at guard?

I do think 49ers fans should be encouraged by the guard play in San Francisco. I was fairly high on both of them coming out of college, so I have a little bit of a vested interest in their success, but at the same time, I think trying to look at their performance in the year objectively, they played pretty well.

Furthermore, I think both have the physical traits to continue building out their skill-set, and they’re in a great spot to make it happen.