Every day leading up to the start of training camp set for July 28, 49ers.com will assess each position group on the roster as we get closer to the season. In this installment, we will address the 49ers new-look offensive line and the looming competition at right guard.
San Francisco's offensive line will look much different than it did a season ago, most notably, the recent retirement of long-time left tackle Joe Staley. Despite the changes, the 49ers O-line remains highly regarded. Pro Football Focus recently ranked all 32 offensive line units, with the 49ers landing at the No. 8 spot. The 49ers anticipate picking up where they left off with the addition of Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams.
The rest of the offensive line appears set with a great deal of depth heading into training camp – outside of the right guard position. Following the exit of Mike Person this offseason, one of the biggest battles heading into the summer will be who fills the lone, yet vital vacancy? In addition to the looming competition, will center Weston Richburg be ready by Week 1? Will Williams' year away from football hurt or help him in 2020?
- C Weston Richburg (7th Season)
- G Ross Reynolds (1st Season) *not active in 2019
- OL Kofi Amichia (1st Season) *not active in 2019
- OL Jake Brendel (3rd Season)
- OL Daniel Brunskill (2nd Season)
- OL Tom Compton (8th Season)
- OL Ben Garland (7th Season)
- OL Jaryd Jones-Smith (1st Season) *not active in 2019
- OL Colton McKivitz (1st Season)
- OL Ray Smith (1st Season) *not active in 2019
- OL Laken Tomlinson (6th Season)
- OL Leonard Wester (6th Season)
- OL Justin Skule (3rd Season)
- T Shon Coleman (5th Season)
- T Mike McGlinchey (3rd Season)
- T Trent Williams (10th Season)
San Francisco's offensive line took significant strides in 2019. The unit anchored a rushing offense that averaged 144.1 yards per game, ranked second best in the league. San Francisco ranked eighth in run blocking and 15th in pass protection last year, according to Football Outsiders.
The offensive line led the way for an eighth-ranked 4.6 yards per carry, 64 explosive run plays of 10-plus yards (second) and a league-high 28 rushing touchdowns. They finished the season with a third-ranked 868 rushing yards before contact while producing the league's fourth-best average of 1.7 yards before contact per rush attempt, according to PFF.
Offensive Line Breakdown
C Weston Richburg: The 49ers suffered a massive blow in their Week 14 win over the New Orleans Saints as Richburg suffered a torn patellar tendon that landed him on Injured Reserve. Richburg started 13 games prior to the injury. The 49ers are optimistic their starting center could be on hand by the start of the regular season.
"Will Weston be ready? He's on target to be," John Lynch said back in April. "Has the COVID situation, the shelter in place, affected that? A little bit. But remember, we've all been granted a kind of permission with the injured players that they can receive treatment, so they've continued on. Weston's doing very well. Probably not as close as last year. He's on target, I should say, to be ready to play if the season kicks off at the normal time."
G Ross Reynolds: Reynolds was signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Iowa in 2019, landing on the team's practice squad for the full season. He played in 31 games (14 starts) with the Hawkeyes and earned Second-Team All-Big Ten honors. Reynolds started all 13 games at left guard during his senior season.
OL Kofi Amichia: A sixth-round pick by the Packers in 2017, Amichia spent time with Green Bay and Baltimore Ravens practice squads before signing to the 49ers practice squad last December. Amichia started all 13 games at left tackle at the University of South Florida in 2016 and made 26 consecutive starts between 2015-16. He was an American Athletic Conference First-Team selection that helped the Bulls finish the regular season ranked fifth nationally in rushing offense (291.8 yards per game), eighth in scoring offense (43.6 points per game) and ninth in total offense (515.1 yards per game).
OL Jake Brendel: Undrafted out of UCLA, Brendel was signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad in 2016 before being released with an injury settlement. He was signed to the Miami Dolphins practice squad that October and promoted to the active roster a month later. In 2018, Brendel appeared in four games (three at left guard, one at center) before being placed on Injured Reserve. Brendel was signed by the 49ers earlier this offseason.
OL Daniel Brunskill: A former member of the AAF and the Atlanta Falcons practice squad, Brunskill joined the 49ers last offseason and made the team's 53-man roster. He got his first NFL start at right tackle in place of Mike McGlinchey. Brunskill appeared in 14 games last season with seven starts, seeing snaps at both tackle positions and right guard.
According to Pro Football Focus, Brunskill, who filled in admirably down the stretch last season, earned a 73.0 overall grade and just nine pressures allowed on 475 attempts. Brunskill adds to the competition at starting right guard in 2020.
OL Tom Compton: Signed by the 49ers this offseason, Compton was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. After spending time under Kyle Shanahan with the Atlanta Falcons, Compton made starts at both left and right guard for the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Jets. Compton is also in the mix for the right guard vacancy.
OL Ben Garland: The 49ers re-signed Garland this offseason after joining the 49ers as a free agent last offseason. Garland previously played under Shanahan with the Falcons in 2016. Garland stepped in for Richburg following his knee injury in Week 14 and remained the 49ers starting center through the final three games of the regular season and the postseason. Garland allowed one quarterback hit and zero sacks in his three regular season starts.
OL Jaryd Jones Smith: Jones-Smith appeared in 33 games (13 starts) at both tackle spots during his time at the University of Pittsburgh. He was signed to the 49ers practice squad last October.
OL Colton McKivitz: The 49ers selected McKivitz in the fifth round (153rd overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft. During his time at West Virginia, McKivitz appeared in 50 games (47 starts) where he played both tackle positions. He started all 12 games in 2019 at left tackle and was named Big 12 Conference Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year and First-Team All-Big 12 and AP Third-Team All-America. McKivitz is also likely to compete for the starting right guard job.
OL Ray Smith: A defensive lineman out of Boston College, Smith joined the Detroit Lions practice squad last season before being waived in October. He was signed to the 49ers practice squad at the close of the regular season. This offseason, Smith made a transition to the offensive line.
OL Laken Tomlinson: According to PFF, Tomlinson earned a 68.8 overall grade last season ranked 23rd among guards, including the playoffs. The 49ers left guard was the only member of the 49ers offensive line to play every snap in 2019. He's only missed one game throughout his five-year NFL career.
OL Leonard Wester: Wester signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in 2016. In three seasons with the Buccaneers, he appeared in 27 games (one start) and recorded one career touchdown reception.
OL Justin Skule: Drafted in the sixth round (183rd overall) of the 2019 draft, Skule appeared in 15 games during his rookie campaign. He made eight starts filling in for Staley, who suffered multiple injuries during the season.
T Shon Coleman: Coleman was originally acquired by the 49ers in a trade with the Cleveland Browns in 2018 and was inactive for each of the team's 16 games that season. San Francisco anticipated Coleman being the team's swing tackle last season, however, he suffered a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula during the 49ers first preseason game and was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve. The 49ers re-signed the tackle to a one-year deal this offseason.
T Mike McGlinchey: The former first-round pick continued to excel as a run blocker in his second year in San Francisco. He earned an 81.2 run-blocking grade that ranked eighth among all NFL tackles.
T Trent Williams: Regarded as one of the top tackles in the league, the 49ers are hopeful that Williams can return to elite form in his fresh start in San Francisco. Williams earned the fifth-best overall grade (90.8) among tackles from 2015-18 and excelled as a pass protector and powerful run blocker, per PFF. Williams spent time under Shanahan during his early years in Washington, where he put up a career-high 88.9 run-blocking grade in 2013. He recently ranked third on EPSN's list of the top 10 offensive tackles.