Trent Williams could leave the 49ers in a few weeks from now.
In fact, I'd say there is a high likelihood that he is as good as gone. That will leave the 49ers with yet another position of need. Worst part of all is that they will be desperate at left tackle for a second-consecutive offseason. The 49ers could always look to draft a player as Williams' replacement, but there are other areas they might want to reserve their draft capital for.
That is why Justin Skule could be the 49ers starter at left tackle in 2021.
San Francisco has to address cornerback, edge rusher, interior offensive line, and possibly even add wide receiver depth. Having left tackle added upon that long list is overwhelming.
The 49ers won't be able to use free agency as the avenue to replace Williams, especially since that is why they will be losing him in the first place. They just do not have the salary cap space. Plus, I expect the 49ers to use free agency to address the center position for someone like an Alex Mack.
Perhaps a trade for Orland Brown Jr. is on the table? But I do not envision that in the realm of possibility for the 49ers. Trading for a left tackle two years in a row would be laughable and essentially admitting that they whiffed their handling of Williams.
Furthermore, Skule has been a developmental player for the 49ers. Despite his last couple of atrocious starts, Skule did show some promise in 2019 when he was filling in for Joe Staley. With another season under his belt and fully committing to him in 2021, the 49ers could be having Skule as a sufficient starter. At some point, the 49ers have to be able to develop an offensive lineman.
And if Skule doesn't instill enough faith in the coaching staff, then I wouldn't rule out the possibility of the 49ers swinging Daniel Brunskill again over to left tackle. The 49ers can't address every position, and if Williams leaves they will be limited in alternatives for him. Moving forward their in-house talent could be their best course of action.
Then again, left tackle is a premium position. I'm just hard pressed to believe that if the 49ers failed to retain Williams, a player that was already theirs, that they would look for another top-talent to replace him.
Skule being the starter at left tackle in 2021 is a reality that can come to fruition. All the 49ers have to do is avoid playing him against the Packers since his two real abysmal performance were against them.