placeholder image

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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

Feb 15, 2023 at 4:05 PM--

Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
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.

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

placeholder image

Kyle Shanahan praises 49ers D-line's unselfish play vs. Eagles

By David Bonilla
Dec 8

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan expressed pride in his defense's performance against the Philadelphia Eagles this past Sunday, particularly commending the unselfish play of his defensive line. The group was asked to do something outside their comfort zone—avoid being overly aggressive. During a recent interview with Bay Area radio station KNBR, Shanahan hailed the Week 13 outing as one of the season's best defensive performances, praising his players' willingness to adapt to a unique challenge. "I thought it was their best game, and they've had so many good games," Shanahan said on the "Tolbert and Copes" show. "But this one was different because ... it just completely goes against their DNA. That's not the way we like to play. We want to

placeholder image

49ers vs. Seahawks: Brock Purdy gears up for familiar foe, acknowledges room for growth

By David Bonilla
Dec 7

Brock Purdy is gearing up to lead his San Francisco 49ers against the Seattle Seahawks for the second time in three games. This time, the Niners will play host, with Sunday's NFC West clash taking place at Levi's Stadium. Purdy has faced Seattle more than any other opponent in his NFL career, creating a familiarity with the division rival. Despite never losing to the Seahawks, the second-year quarterback emphasizes that he won't take any opponent for granted. "They got good players, some really good dudes that have a lot of experience and stuff, obviously with [LB] Bobby Wagner and then [DB Quandre] Diggs in the secondary, some boys that are playing corner that have got some experience now under their belts," Purdy told reporters after Thursday's

placeholder image

Kyle Shanahan provides injury updates on Arik Armstead, Spencer Burford, Elijah Mitchell ahead of 49ers-Seahawks

By David Bonilla
Dec 7

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan provided injury updates during his weekly interview on Bay Area radio station KNBR, shedding light on the statuses of some ailing players ahead of the team's Week 14 showdown against the Seattle Seahawks. Arik Armstead has yet to hit the practice field this week as he deals with foot and knee issues. On Wednesday, Shanahan said he would be surprised to see his veteran defensive tackle on the field this weekend. A day later, nothing has changed. "Armstead's still looking like a long shot," Shanahan said on the "Tolbert and Copes" show. "Haven't ruled him out yet, officially, but I'll talk to the doctors. But I

placeholder image

49ers' Christian McCaffrey offers scouting report on younger brother

By David Bonilla
Dec 7

Maybe the San Francisco 49ers will be in the market to draft another wide receiver soon. Suppose the front office seeks the opinion of running back Christian McCaffrey. In that case, he will likely be vocal in his recommendation—a certain Rice wideout named Luke McCaffrey, who happens to be his younger brother. "I would love to play with him one day," the older McCaffrey told reporters in the 49ers' locker room after Thursday's practice. "That would be the coolest thing ever. So I'm excited for him and his journey, and he's only going to get better." Luke, listed at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, recorded 68 receptions for 963 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, averaging 14.2 yards per catch. "Yeah, I've watched every snap of every game," Christian


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone