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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

How Should the 49ers Address the O-Line in 2023?

Feb 15, 2023 at 4:05 PM--

With free agency around the corner, the San Francisco 49ers could lose three offensive linemen who developed into quality starters in 2022. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey is one of the top-tier free agents for his position. He may have priced himself out of San Francisco. Center Jake Brendel looks forward to his first free agency. The Pro Bowl alternate, soon-to-be dad, may take the best available offer, leaving the 49ers without a center. Guard/tackle/center Daniel Brunskill is the most versatile of the three impending free agents. The iron man could find a new home next season because of his versatility. Will the 49ers try to bring back one of their free agents? My guess is yes, and that it will likely be the veteran Brunskill. Kyle Shanahan and Chris Foerster love versatile offensive linemen who can play multiple positions.

Expect the 49ers to address the line in three ways—internally, through free agency, and in the draft. The 49ers have several offensive linemen on the roster waiting for their opportunity. Colton McKivitz (guard/tackle), Jaylon Moore (tackle), Alfredo Gutierrez (tackle), Jason Poe (center/guard), Leroy Watson (tackle), and Nick Zakelj (center/guard) all may get the opportunity to move up on the depth chart.


If the 49ers move on from Brunskill, Poe may be able to slide into the veteran's role. He's robust, versatile, and can play anywhere along the interior of the offensive line. Filling the right tackle position will be a battle between McKivitz and Jaylon Moore. Both tackles started games on the left side in place of All-Pro Trent Williams, and they both had decent starts. Currently, McKivitz is the frontrunner of the two tackles to take McGlinchey's spot should McGlinchey leave.

Free Agency

Don't expect the 49ers to splurge on a tackle in free agency. There's one tackle, George Fant, from the New York Jets, that would be an upgrade over McGlinchey. Since McGlinchey has priced himself out of Santa Clara, I wouldn't expect them to spend big on this position. Sure, there are other tackles, such as Jawaan Taylor out of Jacksonville, but the question is, how much better is he than the guys in camp?

The most critical piece to Kyle Shanahan's offense is the center position. If the 49ers were to splurge on a position along the offensive line, it would likely be at center. The 49ers overpaid Weston Richburg and Alex Mack, but both players made the team's rushing attack one of the league's top. The top three free-agent centers are Rodney Hudson (Cardinals), Jason Kelce (Eagles), and Conner McGovern (Jets). With Kelce contemplating retirement, the 49ers should take a good look at McGovern, who has experience in the zone-blocking scheme the 49ers prefer. He will likely command a high salary, but McGovern immediately makes the offensive line top-tier. If the team wants to go the bargain route, Vikings free-agent center Garrett Bradbury is also built for Shanahan's system. Another name to keep an eye on would be center Ethan Pocic from the Cleveland Browns.

The Draft

The 49ers have ten draft picks and don't pick first until round three. Cody Mauch, a tackle from North Dakota State, would be the perfect fit. The 49ers would have to trade up into the second round, but drafting the 6'6" 303-pound bully would enhance the O-line on day one. At the Senior Bowl, Mauch also took reps at guard and center. Also, look out for tackle Blake Freeland from BYU. He began his collegiate career at right tackle before transitioning to left tackle.

In Conclusion

Expect the 49ers to improve the offensive line if the team plans to continue their Quest for Six. Kyle Shanahan may take a page out of the book of the two teams that gave his team the most trouble this year: The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. Since games are won and lost in the trenches, upgrading the offensive line is a top priority.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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