Joe Staley's Uncertain Future Could Tempt 49ers to Draft OL
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Ever since acquiring the No. 13 pick from the Indianapolis Colts, the debate has raged on with who the San Francisco 49ers should select.
There are a ton of options for the 49ers at that spot, like taking a wide receiver or addressing the cornerback position. However, one spot that isn't the sexiest move to fans is drafting an offensive tackle.
If the 49ers go that route, they will most likely have one of the better prospects available. That is the luxury of picking in the top-15. The reason the Niners would draft an offensive tackle is because of Joe Staley, despite the belief that he is set to return in 2020.
That was until NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco dropped a bit of a bomb.
When he was speaking with fellow NBC Sports Authentic’s Laura Britt and 49ers play-by-play commentator Greg Papa, he did not have a ton of confidence in Staley's return.
“I'm gonna go 50/50." Said Maiocco of the likelihood of Staley's return in 2020. "They just have to assume he’s not coming back. Even if he does, he’s not going to be around for too much longer, locking down the left side of that offensive line. So the 49ers really have to start taking some steps to ensure that place is ready once he leaves.”
Maiocco's reasoning is exactly why an offensive tackle should be heavily considered at pick No. 13. In fact, I would argue that it should be the Niners' top priority once the draft kicks off.
Yes, the 49ers need a wide receiver with the loss of Emmanuel Sanders. Adding someone like a CeeDee Lamb would enhance the offense and make them more dangerous. However, an offensive tackle is key to sustaining the offense's success for years to come. This is the 49ers only chance at adding a starting caliber offensive tackle. If this team is expected to contend over the next few years, then this is their only chance at a top pick.
A pick in the top-15 is not going to fall into the laps of the 49ers. They must secure the blindside of Jimmy Garoppolo and keep the offensive lineman intact. It gets lost at times among fans and others in the media that the offensive line was the MVP group of the offense. Kyle Shanahan's system put these guys in the right spots to excel, but they are the ones who are executing it.
They are the ones who made the running attack lethal and kept Garoppolo upright for most of the season. Another upside to taking an offensive tackle at 13th overall is that the 49ers can still find value with a wide receiver later in the draft. While they won't find that immediate impact player, they will still have increased the quality of the position.
For all we know, Staley could retire this season. With the current social distancing state we are all in, it could make him realize that being home is the life he wants to settle into. Anything can happen, but one thing is for sure is that Staley is not long for this game.