Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Bleacher Report identifies 49ers’ biggest remaining need

May 16, 2022 at 2:23 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers did what they could to address offseason needs. They signed Charvarius Ward and drafted two cornerbacks to bolster that position. In addition, they hope to have found a replacement for Dee Ford in second-round draft pick Drake Jackson. There remains uncertainty about who will be playing alongside Jimmie Ward at safety, but the team has options.

While the 49ers drafted two offensive linemen—Spencer Burford and Nick Zakelj—the interior of that line is among the team's most prominent question marks heading into the 2022 season. It will be tough to replace Laken Tomlinson, who is now with the New York Jets. Also, Tom Compton left for the Denver Broncos after just two seasons with the 49ers.

No one knows what is happening with center Alex Mack. He could surprise everyone and return for his 14th NFL season, or call it a career and retire after one season with the 49ers.

Finding solutions to solidify the interior of the offensive line has to be a priority due to everything pointing toward second-year quarterback Trey Lance becoming the starter. Another reason is that the 49ers offense is so dependent on a potent rushing attack.

Bleacher Report named each NFL team's biggest remaining offseason needs, and it won't surprise anyone that the guard position is listed as San Francisco's.

"That line is facing some adversity in 2022," wrote Gary Davenport. "The team lost a pair of quality starters when right tackle Tom Compton and left guard Laken Tomlinson departed in free agency. The team is hopeful Mike McGlinchey can step back into the starting lineup at tackle after an injury-shortened 2021 season, but there are questions at guard.

"Aaron Banks (who is slated to replace Tomlinson) was a second-round pick last year, but he also played all of five snaps as a rookie. Right guard Daniel Brunskill was far and away the lowest-graded starter on the 49ers front last season at Pro Football Focus with a 62.2 [overall grade].

"As goes the line, so goes the entire offense in San Francisco. And those guard spots appear shaky."

There is still time to tweak the lineup. The 49ers could add a veteran center like JC Tretter, who remains a free agent. They might be confident enough in Banks as a starter at guard in his second year. In fact, the 49ers felt Banks may have been ready midway through last season but opted not to throw the then-rookie into action.

"If you had asked me halfway through [the season] if he was going to be playing, I would have said, 'Yes,'" head coach Kyle Shanahan admitted in March. "And things just started clicking for our team and we didn't want to mess it up. But he's ready to go."

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