It was a rough year. But John Lynch is on the right track and if he can pull off the incredible by mind-raping other GMs once again, the road back to dominance will be even more defined.
For now, it looks like we’ve got our man in Jimmy Garoppolo and Daniel Kilgore just took a 3-year contract. This is great because, even though he isn’t the best lineman on the 49ers, he and Garoppolo seem to have a chemistry. But who will be left and right of him?
The Niners allowed 43 sacks last season, only nine teams were worse. 18th in the league in overall pass protection is very hot either. So, in building around the new franchise man, the red and Gold should focus their sights on acquiring some more depth and talent on the O-line.
I have a good feeling that Joe Staley and Trent Brown will hold their places starting up in the trenches. Laken Tomlinson, who was given a 51.2 Pass-Blocking Grade by Pro Football Focus is definitely on the hot seat, Kilgore has an Overall Grad of just 51 and though it looks like he will remain at the behest of Jimmy, he either needs to drastically step up his game, or move into a backup role for someone with more talent.
Who should the Niners chase?
A great pickup would be Auburn’s, Braden Smith. He’s 6’6, 303 pounds and extremely physical. The fact that he rotated playing from Guard and Tackle would make him ideal for a team the 49ers who need to shift and test pieces to find their offensive line’s identity.
Notre Dame’s, Quenton Nelson would be the obvious choice to shore up the Guard position, but he is looking like a top-10 pick and may end up a bit too costly. That said, he’s very aggressive in both the run and pass blocking schemes and at 6’5, 329 he’s the prototypical offensive ‘big-ugly’.
Another quite realistic option is trying to obtain Ryan Jenson from the Baltimore Ravens. He would create an immediate positive effect as a talented veteran center. But picking up a talented second-rounder on the cheap, like Tyrell Crosby from the Ducks might just what the doctor ordered … especially with that ever-looming IR list at tackle.
Oh, Reuben …
Unfortunately, one of our impact defensive players had to go and make things complicated with domestic violence charges. With the 49ers struggling on both Will and Sam sides, Reuben Foster really acted as a one-man-army behind the line stopping the run. So, now instead of looking for help outside and inside, that middle role must get filled. How about Paul Posluszny from Jacksonville?
He makes sense in my mind as he had an excellent season on the strong-side last year. Or … will Lynch pull out all of the stops to pick up Tremaine Edmunds in the draft? The Virginia Tech LB is young, not yet 20 so there are a lot of upsides. He already reads changes in the offense very quickly and is super athletic. He could make an immediate impact, and with a bit of NFL experience, be scary good in the near future.
So, where do the Red and Gold currently sit?
The Niners are listed at +1400 to win the NFC, which are not terrible odds. It’s above the Redskins at +5000 (500 to 1), the Cardinals at +5000, the Bears at +5000, the Giants at +4000, the Buccaneers at +3000, the Lions at +3000, and the Panthers at +1800.
We’ll have to make sure to check YouWager review for all NFL draft odds along with updated probabilities of going to the Super Bowl.