Daniel Brunskill Continues to Impress in First Year With 49ers
Jose Luis Sanchez III
When the San Francisco 49ers lost both Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey for the entire middle portion of the season, their offense was expected to take a massive step back. Losing a starting offensive tackle in the NFL tends to put most teams in a bind, so losing both starters at the position practically made it an impossible situation. A team is forced to roll out a backup or an unpolished rookie who is just not ready for the rough battles in the trenches.
However, the job that Daniel Brunskill and Justin Skule have done for the 49ers stepping in for Staley and McGlinchey has been nothing less than stellar, especially when it comes to the performance of Brunskill. The guy has not had a single poor performance to date since filling in as the starter. Against the Baltimore Ravens blitz heavy defense, Brunskill held his own exceptionally well. He only allowed one pressure for the entirety of the game per Pro Football Focus.
Daniel Brunskill continues to impress in his first year with the San Francisco 49ers.
It doesn't matter where the 49ers stick this guy, whether it is on the right or left side, he is going to play at a high-level. That type of versatility should not be overlooked. It isn't a common trait in most offensive tackles to be able to play both sides of the line so adept. That is what has stood out with him from the last two weeks he has played. Brunskill is predominately a right tackle. He has no experience playing as a left tackle, so getting down the technique for it is typically a challenging task for players.
They basically have to flip their technique when they kick out and take their drop step in pass-protection. The that he can manage to break his mental conditioning just gives credence to his football acumen. Massive credit is due to him for getting it down, but also offensive line coach John Benton for helping him get ready. So far this season, there really hasn't been a flaw to his game.
Brunskill has done so well that his pass-blocking efficiency is tied for fourth among offensive tackles with at least 150 pass blocking snaps at 98.2 per Pro Football Focus. He is doing all of that without being a liability and with minimal penalties. What Brunskill has been doing should garner a significant amount of attention.
It is quite an admirable story when it comes to Brunskill. He was an undrafted free agent out of San Diego State in 2017 and eventually signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Except he exclusively spent his time on the practice squad up until last season. That means he is basically still a rookie because has never played in a regular season game. That is when Brunskill joined up with the AAF in January to better showcase is skills and potential. Fast forward to the present and he is one of the best pass-blocking offensive tackles in the league.
Whoever was the scout that saw the hidden talent in Brusnkill deserves a raise because his signing in the offseason has become one of the best for the San Francisco 49ers.
This offense could have easily derailed once McGlinchey went down, but Brunskill's resolve has been a key factor to the success this team is having. With how strong Brunskill has been playing this season and proving that he is capable at left tackle - it makes you wonder if the 49ers will roll with Brunskill over Staley. That will be an interesting decision to make for Kyle Shanahan when the time comes.
For right now, the impressive performance of Brunskill is not to be taken for granted. He'll look to continue his fantastic 2019 season on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.