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Could the 49ers trade up in the draft for a top tackle?

Apr 11, 2024 at 8:49 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers are likely hoping that a top offensive lineman drops to them at No. 31 in the first round of this month's draft. Fans would like to see the team add someone to compete with Colton McKivitz for the right tackle spot and potentially take over for Trent Williams when the future Hall of Famer decides to retire.

Having two studs bookending the offensive line would go a long way in protecting franchise quarterback Brock Purdy. While tackle may be the first-round target, depending on how the first 30 selections play out, San Francisco might have to trade up to get a genuinely impactful player.

ESPN recently examined all the draft buzz around the 32 NFL teams, and the 49ers' need to address the offensive line, largely ignored in free agency, was the topic surrounding them.

"In a perfect world, the Niners could land an offensive tackle capable of pushing for the starting job immediately on the right side and who could eventually replace Trent Williams on the left," Nick Wagoner wrote.

McKivitz's play on the right side was erratic. Including the 49ers' three playoff games, the offensive lineman surrendered 59 total pressures last season, tied for the league-high. He displayed improvement toward the end of the regular season, earning a 75.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus in the final five games compared to 58.7 in the preceding games. However, his overall grade dipped to 63.1 in the playoffs.

Wagoner added, "Although tackle is considered a strength of the draft, the Niners might still have to move up to get one of the top tackles, which means they might be better served drafting one of the top interior linemen who could also step in right away if a trade up doesn't make sense. Either way, bolstering the front five has to be the priority."

The 49ers signed McKivitz to a one-year extension this offseason, keeping him under contract through the 2025 season. ESPN's Jordan Reid doesn't believe that will stop the team from seeking an upgrade.

"Unsurprisingly, right tackle and cornerback are the two positions brought up most by scouts when talking about where the Niners could improve after their run to the Super Bowl," Reid wrote. "And with 10 picks and few roster spots available, San Francisco might surprise and attempt a move up for an offensive tackle. Amarius Mims and Jordan Morgan fit in Kyle Shanahan's scheme on Day 1, but Roger Rosengarten (Washington) would also make sense on Day 2."
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