Mike McGlinchey is starting off his NFL career opposite some of the league’s most elite talent.
The San Francisco 49ers first-round pick made his preseason debut last Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys. There to greet him was Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, the stud pass rusher who tied for second in the NFL with 14.5 sacks in 2017.
“That first drive you go out for your first time and Demarcus Lawrence is the first guy you see," McGlinchey said. “It’s a little nerve wracking but I settled in there pretty good and thought I did a pretty good job.”
McGlinchey saw extended playing time on Thursday during the preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Behind Mike Person (40), McGlinchey saw the second most snaps of any 49ers starting offensive lineman (23).
The right tackle held his own in his first look at live action, allowing just one quarterback hit. McGlinchey's performance earned Kyle Shanahan's approval.
“I was really happy with Mike,” Shanahan said. “That’s why we left him in there a little bit longer. By no means was it perfect, but it was very easy to see that the game is not too big for him. He’s very comfortable out there. He looks like the player he looked in college when we studied him, how he’s looked in practice.
“He got out there and didn’t change. He’s a guy who I think gets better as the game goes on because he is talented, but he also is very smart and doesn’t get overwhelmed with things. When he does make a mistake, he usually learns from it.”
Now McGlinchey will shift his focus to the Houston Texans star-studded defensive line. The rookie will get two days of practice against J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney before seeing them again in a preseason game on Saturday to cap off the road trip. The week ahead will serve as a strong barometer for McGlinchey as he approaches his official NFL debut on Sept. 9.
“It’s going to be fun,” McGlinchey said. “That’s why you play in the NFL. You play against the biggest and baddest dudes and they’ve got three or four of them. So it’s going to be pretty fun.”
The challenge posed by Houston's talented defensive line is rivaled only by the city's muggy summer conditions. Beating the heat may prove to be McGlinchey's ultimate test.
"I'm more worried about the heat monster than I am those guys," McGlinchey added. "As long as I can stay upright and not lose 15 pounds during practice, I'll come out of there with a win."
San Francisco’s second preseason contest kicks off Saturday, Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. PT from NRG Stadium in Houston.