The San Francisco 49ers had one of the worst offensive lines in the league last season. This year, they look to re-build and resurrect the success of seasons past. The offensive line was broken up a bit during free agency. However, recent acquisitions and players returning to full health look to bring the line back to prominence.
The 2016 San Francisco 49ers Offensive Line Resurrection
Trent Brown and Anthony Davis both had an opportunity to win the right tackle job going into camp. Thus far, it looks as thought Brown has won the job and is ahead of Davis on the depth chart. Brown moves extremely well for a 6’8″, 355 pound linemen. At his size he still has the ability to move quickly and get to his blocks. Brown will need to utilize this ability to be effective in Chip Kelly’s offensive system. Anthony Davis may have had a better shot at winning the job had he not threatened to retire last off-season. That decision had to leave doubt in the minds of the coaching staff as to Davis’ level of commitment.
Andrew Tiller has looked good throughout camp and pre-season and will be a lock to start at the right guard position. Tiller saw playing time at the end of last season after Jordan Devey was benched, and filled in nicely. At 6’4″ and 324 pounds Tiller isn’t lacking in size and strength. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2012 but never found a home there. Since then, Tiller has been on the practice squad for the Chargers, Saints, and then finally the 49ers in October of 2014. Tiller seems to have adapted quickly to Kelly’s offensive scheme, and may have finally found his niche in San Francisco.
The blindside of the 49ers offensive line will continue to be anchored by Pro-bowler Joe Staley. In fact, Staley has now made five straight Pro Bowls and is regarded as one of the best linemen in the NFL. Staley is more than a phenomenal talent at left tackle; he is also a veteran and leader. He excels at run blocking and pass protection, and is incredibly football intelligent. Staley’s leadership role will be vital to the offensive line’s success this season. There will be new faces and young talent who will need veteran guidance in order to come together as a unit.
Among the acquisitions the 49ers made this year in free agency was left guard Zane Beadles. Beadles comes over to San Francisco after spending the last two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He began his career in 2010 after he was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the second round. In 2012, Beadles made the Pro Bowl as a member of the Broncos, replacing an injured Logan Mankins of the New England Patriots. Beadles will fill the hole left by Alex Boone, who moved on to the Minnesota Vikings this off-season. Though Beadles is not the talent that Boone is, he is an efficient blocker in his own ways. He has decent mobility, but needs to work on his technique and footwork. Regardless, Beadles is going to be an acceptable replacement for Boone.
Daniel Kilgore appears to finally be back at full strength this year after suffering a broken left leg in 2014. The 49ers should be very happy to have him back and 100 percent healthy. Kilgore is not the biggest linemen on the roster at 6’3″ and 308 pounds. Yet, what Kilgore lacks in size he makes up for in heart and sound fundamentals. Kilgore will be making the offensive line calls before the snap this season. It is important that he remains healthy and can completely focus on that job. Kilgore has obvious Pro Bowl potential, and is the anchor of that offensive line. He is the final piece of the puzzle to rebuilding the 49ers line. A line that has seen many changes in the past few seasons, but appears ready to regain it’s prominence in the league.