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Prospect Profiles: Offensive Linemen Linked to the 49ers

This week, is covering five positions that have been identified as targets for the San Francisco 49ers with the 31st-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The safety and cornerback positions were previously addressed, as Jimmie Ward is set to hit the open market this month, and Richard Sherman enters the final year of his contract in San Francisco.

Up next, we'll visit the offensive line, where through mock drafts and expert analysis, NFL pundits believe the 49ers could look to add depth in next month's draft. San Francisco boasted an offensive line that aided the league's second-ranked rushing offense with 2,305 yards on the ground, 23 touchdowns and an average of 144.1 yards per game.

Injuries forced a number of rotations along the offensive line in 2019. Namely, center Weston Richburg, who suffered a season-ending torn patellar tendon in Week 14. According to Richburg, he expects to make a full return by training camp this summer. Veteran Ben Garland, who stepped in for Richburg towards the latter half of the season, is set to hit free agency this month.

Daniel Brunskill, an exclusive rights free agent who was tendered a one-year contract on Thursday, and rookie Justin Skule stepped in admirably at tackle during various points of the year with injuries to Mike McGlinchey and Joe Staley. Speaking of Staley, San Francisco anticipates the veteran left tackle to return in Year 14. The 49ers signed Staley to a two-year contract extension back in June of 2019. He missed seven regular season games due to injuries, however played at a high level when he was on the field, allowing just seven pressures in 240 pass-blocking snaps this season - the third best mark in the league.

Whether through adding depth along the interior offensive line, or grooming a tackle opposite McGlinchey, draft analysts offered options for San Francisco at Pick 31. Here's a look at some offensive linemen who have been linked to the 49ers.

Prospect Profiles: | Safety | Cornerback | Linebacker | Wide Receiver |

USC offensive lineman Austin Jackson runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Austin Jackson, USC

2019 Stats: Jackson started all 13 games at left tackle for the Trojans and earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors following his 2019 performance.

What the experts are saying: "Early-entry tackle prospect who is raw but gifted and is likely to be coveted by a variety of teams, thanks to his true left tackle traits. Jackson has loads of athletic ability and play talent that is waiting to be developed and harvested." – NFL analyst Lance Zierlein

How he fits with the 49ers: "Jackson is more athlete than polished left tackle at this point in his career, but that athleticism will serve him well in San Francisco's offense. Plus, he can spend a year behind 35-year-old Joe Staley, whose contract expires after the 2021 season." - Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

Combine Results:

Table inside Article
40-yard Dash Bench Press Vertical Jump Broad Jump 3-cone Drill 20-yard Shuttle
Austin Jackson 5.07 27 31.0 115.0 7.95 --
Michigan offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Cesar Ruiz, Michigan

2019 Stats: Ruiz started all 13 games his sophomore season at Michigan and earned third-team All-Big Ten and second-team All-Conference selections in 2019.

What the experts are saying: "Athletic and tenacious with the combination of skills and technique to fit into a variety of blocking schemes on the next level. Ruiz wins early with initial quickness and fast hands into first contact. He works to convert early advantages into wins. He's consistent in securing down-blocks and has the athletic traits to become a second-level factor." - Zierlein

How he fits with the 49ers: "Weston Richburg is coming off a torn patellar tendon. Ben Garland and Mike Person performed above expectations in 2019, but both turn 32 years old this offseason and the 49ers could look to get younger and healthier on the interior. Ruiz is an athletic mover with experience at both center and guard." - Dane Brugler, The Athletic

Combine Results:

Table inside Article
40-yard Dash Bench Press Vertical Jump Broad Jump 3-cone Drill 20-yard Shuttle
Cesar Ruiz 5.08 28 33.0 113.0 7.91 4.64

Take a look at some of the names being associated with the San Francisco 49ers in various mock drafts.