With the start of training camp about two weeks away, now is the perfect time to look at each of the position groups on the San Francisco 49ers roster and predict who will make the 53-man roster.
On the roster: Dohnovan West, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Daniel Brunskill, Spencer Burford, Alfredo Gutierrez, Colton McKivitz, Jaylon Moore, Jason Poe, Sam Schlueter, Justin Skule, Keaton Sutherland, Nick Zakelj, Mike McGlinchey, Trent Williams
Analysis: San Francisco will look to rebuild this group after losing left guard Laken Tomlinson to free agency and center Alex Mack retired this offseason. Here is what the starting lineup could look like:
Trent Williams will return at left tackle and anchor the offensive line. The veteran is coming off a 2021 season that saw him named first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career.
Aaron Banks is expected to replace Laken Tomlinson at left guard. A second-round selection last season, Banks struggled transitioning from left to right guard during training camp before an injury in the first preseason game further set back his development. Kyle Shanahan has stated Banks was ready to move into the starting lineup near the season’s midpoint, but the team started winning and chose to stick with what was working.
Jake Brendel appears to be the first man up at center. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan expressed their confidence in the career backup following the draft. Entering his fifth NFL season, Brendel has played 250 career offensive snaps, most of those coming during three starts with the Miami Dolphins in 2018. Brendel was working with the first offensive line throughout the 49ers offseason practices.
After being bounced around in 2020, Daniel Brunskill settled in at right guard, starting every game. Staying in one position paid off as Brunskill was solid throughout the season despite playing the final 12 games without Mike McGlinchey at right tackle.
Mike McGlinchey was having a solid 2021 season until he suffered a torn quad tendon against Arizona in week nine. McGlinchey told the media before the draft that he was happy with the progress he was making in rehabbing the injury. As a precaution, he did not participate in any offseason practices as he eyes a return during training camp.
Question marks: Who starts at center?
As mentioned earlier, all signs point to Jake Brendel starting at center. He took all of the snaps with the starters throughout offseason workouts. One caveat, Daniel Brunskill did not participate in these workouts.
Expect there to be some competition between Brendel and Brunskill once the training camp starts. If Brendel cannot beat out Brunskill, Jaylon Moore will likely step in at right guard.
Others competing for the spot at center are Keaton Sutherland and undrafted rookie free agent Dohnovan West.
Will Mike McGlinchey be healthy?
McGlinchey is working his way back from the torn quad tendon, which derailed his 2021 season, and while signs are pointing in the right direction, there is still uncertainty on if he will be healthy enough to play early in the season.
If McGlinchey cannot go, San Francisco will be forced to choose between Justin Skule, Colton McKivitz, Jaylon Moore, and rookie Spencer Burford to step in at right tackle. The 49ers have won many games with Skule and McKivitz in the starting lineup. That said, Jaylon Moore was the first man off the bench last season to replace McGlinchey, and Burford looks to be a promising prospect for the future.
53-man Roster Projection: (9) Trent Williams, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Daniel Brunskill, Mike McGlinchey, Jaylon Moore, Justin Skule, Spencer Burford, Nick Zakelj