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Spencer Burford ‘looks like a different guy’ heading into Year 2

Burford won’t be looking over his shoulder this year

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The 49ers selected Spencer Burford in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Not many fourth round rookies walk into starting roles for any team, let alone playoff contenders.

Burford wound up starting every game last season, including each of the three playoff games. More importantly, Burford saw the field for 833 snaps as a rookie, and still wound up splitting time with Daniel Brunskill, so Burford didn’t have too much on his plate.

Brunskill is off to the Titans. That means the right guard position is Burford’s for the taking. Offensive line coach Chris Foerster spoke about what Burford needs to do in his second year to be on the field permanently:

“Well, I’ll tell you what, it’s going to be exciting for him. Both those guys [Colton McKivitz] were in my office yesterday, because I wanted to give them both kind of the same message of you’re not looking over your shoulder right now. This is your job now.

I said Spence, last year you spent split time with [Tennessee Titans OL] Dan [Brunskill] and it was good for you. And I would’ve hoped during the year he would’ve taken over the position, but he never really did. It was always kind of a nip and tuck between the two of them.

And Dan had to fill in some games at other positions, so Spence ended up playing more plays. This year, boy, he has come back, looks like a different guy, carrying himself differently. The confidence level, the jump between years one and two for a player if they play is the biggest jump they ever make because you just can’t stop what goes on during a season.

It’s just one game after another game after another game. And about October, your season is usually over in college, and now we’re playing to February almost, last week of January, so it was so long, it’s so much, and it doesn’t let up.

This year, I think he’s more prepared for the whole process. He knows what it is. I think he’s ready to make that step and I say everything to this point as much as you can tell from this, he looks prepared and ready to go.”

Brandon Thorn put together a highlight tape from Burford’s rookie year: