Niners finally looking at offensive tackle

One of the more pressing needs for the 49ers when free agency began was offensive tackle. The 49ers took a wait-and-see approach at that position through nearly three weeks. Now, they’re making a move.

The club has scheduled a visit with Steelers free-agent tackle Marvel Smith, who missed 11 games last season with a back injury. He also underwent lower-back surgery in December 2007.


When healthy, Smith is an outstanding performer. He was named to the Pro Bowl team in 2005. He began his career at right tackle for the Steelers before moving to left tackle. The 49ers envision Smith as a right tackle, but he’ll have to check out healthy during his physical tomorrow.


Smith attended Skyline High in Oakland and went to Arizona State, where he earned All-America status as a junior and was a second-round pick of the Steelers in 2000.


The 49ers have a need at right tackle. The club has informed Jonas Jennings that he will not return to the club this season, according to 49ers sources here  and here. The 49ers got spotty play from backups Barry Sims and Adam Snyder.


If the 49ers were convinced Smith is healthy and sign him to a deal, it would give the team great flexibility in the upcoming draft. They could still take an offensive tackle with the No. 10 overall pick, but they would also have the flexibility of selecting a player at just about any other position, too.


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