A Look at the State of the Niners O-Line

It’s time to close out the Niners offense. Quarterback, running back and tight end are not necessary draft needs this weekend. Wide receiver is. And now for the offensive line…

Offensive Line

Likely starters: (T) Jonas Jennings, Joe Staley; (G/C) David Baas, Eric Heitmann, Adam Snyder

Insurance: (T) Qasim Mitchell; (G/C) Jeb Terry, Tony Wragge

Analysis: It’s safe to say this position needs attention. The departure of Justin Smiley to Miami (surely no tampering there) and Larry Allen to a likely retirement leaves the interior line hungry for some new meat. Staley could become a bookend at one of the tackle spots, but a left tackle (Staley is better suited on the right side) could keep Alex Smith upright.

This draft is deep at tackle, but the Niners may not get a crack at the top four, even five, tackles. But this position needs to be prioritized, at least in the later rounds. I can understand wanting to find a wide receiver who can become a vital target for Smith, but what does it mean if he can’t have more than two seconds in the pocket before he has to throw?

What does it mean to have a great receiver if Frank Gore can’t balance out the offense with a decent line opening holes for him? Sure, Gore can still gain yards on is own, but he’s not the 1,800 yard back we watched two seasons ago.

The fifth round pick that was taken from the Niners’ grasp because of the Lance Briggs tampering case could have been a perfect spot to draft a lineman. But, no excuses. The Niners have to face reality and realize another lineman or two has to be swiped off the board in this draft.

News

Todd McShay made another mock draft today and stuck with Jerod Mayo, linebacker, Tennessee. Here is his reasoning: San Francisco would prefer to get Cherilus and then move 2007 first-round pick Joe Staley to left tackle and start Cherilus on the right side, but Cherilus is gone in this scenario. In addition, WR Malcolm Kelly looks like he’s sliding out of the first round. Mayo is versatile enough to play inside or outside and would be a strong pick here if Cherilus is gone.”

McShay actually predicts the entire draft in what his is final mock. Here is how it looks for the Niners:

Round 2 (39 overall) – Kansas State WR Jordy Nelson (6’2″, 217)

Round 3 (75 overall) – Texas A&M DT Red Bryant (6’4″, 318)

Round 4 (107 overall) – TexasA&M C Cody Wallace (6’4″, 296)

Round 6 (174 overall) – Hawaii QB Colt Brennan (6’2″, 207)

Round 7 (214 overall) – Auburn CB Jonathan Wilhite (5’9″, 185)

Keith Kidd of Scouts Inc. chose Boston College OT Gosder Cherilus as the Niners’ first-round pick in the Interactive mock draft today. And his analysis is here: “Cherilus improves the O-line immediately considering the lack of development by Jonas Jennings. The 49ers can know move Joe Staley over to LT and insert Cherilus over at RT and give themselves bookend tackles for years to come.”

More Niners draft stuff tomorrow!

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