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Who Is the Weakest Link on the 49ers Offensive Line?

The 49ers have made a number of moves to improve their offensive line from last year.

The 49ers have made a number of moves to improve their offensive line from last year. Let's go ahead and rank what will likely be their starting offensive line from best to worst.

1. Trent Williams – Left Tackle

The 49ers made Williams the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL this offseason. Although he will turn 33 before the start of the season, Williams still is one of the best left tackles in the league. Despite missing the 2019 season, the veteran made a successful return to the field and was named to the Pro Bowl in his first season with San Francisco. If Williams can stay healthy, he is clearly the best player on the 49ers offensive line.

2. Alex Mack – Center

The 49ers signed the 12-year veteran early in free agency. Despite his age, Mack is still capable of playing at a high level and has missed only two games the last six seasons. This is one of the most important traits that Mack brings with him. Last season saw musical chairs at the center and right guard positions, and with it became a lack of communication and missed calls. Mack has experience playing under Kyle Shanahan, and his presence should have a positive effect across the offensive line.

3. Mike McGlinchey – Right Tackle

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Despite all of the negative reviews of his play, McGlinchey is still among the better members of the 49ers offensive line. There’s no arguing that McGlinchey struggles in pass protection, but he is a very good run blocker. One thing that may have a role in the up-and-down play from McGlinchey is the revolving door or journeymen at right guard. Look for that to change in 2021.

4. Aaron Banks – Right Guard

The 49ers front office seems to have realized the issues at right guard because they used the 48th pick in the draft on Banks, the mammoth guard from Notre Dame. Despite weighing 338 pounds and standing 6’5”, the El Cerrito High School product shows the ability to move well in space. The most impressive aspect of Banks’ play and where he will likely help out McGlinchey is his pass protection. Banks was dominant in pass protection during his time at Notre Dame, and this should be a welcome change for the 49ers quarterbacks.

5. Laken Tomlinson – Left Guard

If anyone benefitted from the struggles of the right side of the 49ers offensive line in 2020, it was Laken Tomlinson. While the majority of the attention surrounding the porous offensive line has centered around McGlinchey, many fail to remember that it was a missed block by Tomlinson that led to the hit in Week 2 on Jimmy Garoppolo that would sideline the quarterback for the majority of the season with a high ankle sprain.

The overall play of the seven-year veteran definitely took a step back in 2020. If Tomlinson’s play continues to slide, he will be the weakest link among the 49ers offensive line.