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PFF suggests 49ers bolster O-line with one of these two signings

May 8, 2024 at 10:59 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers drafted two offensive linemen in the 2024 NFL Draft, both with experience playing guard. However, these acquisitions occurred in the third and sixth rounds. Was it enough to immediately improve the team's offensive line for the upcoming season?

Gordon McGuinness isn't convinced. The Pro Football Focus analyst examined one potential offseason move for each NFC team that can improve its roster, and upon reviewing the 49ers' roster, suggests that adding a veteran guard might be necessary.

"Dominick Puni can be a day-one starter at right guard for the 49ers as a third-round draft pick out of Kansas, but they could still stand to improve on the opposite side," McGuinness wrote. "Aaron Banks earned just a 50.2 PFF pass-blocking grade last season and struggled in the Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. This is a spot where Dalton Risner or Greg Van Roten could compete for a starting job."

Although the 49ers have consistently voiced confidence in Banks, the former second-round draft pick has never received high marks from Pro Football Focus. While his 52.8 overall grade from the analytics site last season is a career low, it's not significantly lower than his career high, a 59.5 grade earned in 2022.

Much is made of Colton McKivitz's inconsistent play at right tackle, but Banks benefits from playing next to one of the best in the game, left tackle Trent Williams. However, it's noteworthy that while Banks allowed 36 pressures last season, including the playoffs, he didn't concede a single sack in his 597 pass-blocking snaps.

Banks is set to become a free agent next year and could be a candidate for a contract extension. Nonetheless, McGuinness believes the 49ers can do better.

Risner didn't allow a sack in his 485 pass-blocking snaps with the Minnesota Vikings last season. An in-season signing, Risner was named the Vikings' starting left guard in Week 7. McGuinness recently noted that the offensive lineman remains "a starting-caliber guard in the NFL."

"His 67.4 PFF pass-blocking grade in 2023 marked the fifth straight season where he earned a PFF pass-blocking grade above 65.0, with 30 total pressures allowed from 485 pass-blocking snaps," wrote McGuinness.

While Van Roten allowed five sacks with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2023, his 77.4 pass-blocking grade surpasses Banks' or Risner's, likely benefiting from allowing only 21 pressures.

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