The 49ers are in a tough spot in this year’s draft. They’ll enter the draft with offensive tackle atop their list of needs, and they’ll be picking at No. 31 overall where the best of the sizable crop of strong offensive tackle prospects will likely be gone. A trade up may be difficult to execute as well given how much demand there’ll be for the best of this year’s OT class.

One route they could take if a trade isn’t available is trying to find a gem with a couple of high-upside Day 2 and 3 selections. They could also reach for a player at No. 31 overall, which is what they do in Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft. The result in this situation could be disastrous.

Kiper, as is typical, has the best OT prospects going ahead of the 49ers’ slot at the end of the first round. There are a couple of OTs projected to go late in the first or early in the second round who have been mocked to San Francisco. A couple defenders have been sent to them as well. Instead of doing that, Kiper sends them Washington offensive tackle Roger Rosengarten.

There’s the potential that Rosengarten develops into a starting-caliber tackle. He’s coming off a couple good years as a starter where he shined more as a pass blocker than a run blocker. There’s definitely some necessary development though.

Rosengartner doesn’t have great size at 6-5, 308 pounds. He’s also not a particularly good athlete. The 49ers in Kyle Shanahan’s system need their offensive tackles to be effective run blockers who can get out and move. That doesn’t show up a ton for Rosengartner in college and his athletic profile doesn’t necessarily indicate there’s enough upside for him to develop into a starter in this particular offense.

Taking an OT who may not even start Year 1 would be a tough pill for the 49ers to swallow given the size of their need at that spot. A complete whiff where Rosengartner never becomes more than a reserve offensive lineman would be a disaster for a San Francisco club that wants to extend its Super Bowl window.

The 49ers need an upgrade at RT this year, and ideally would have that player credibly flip to the left side when Trent Williams eventually retires. Rosengartner, as a prospect, doesn’t appear to fit that mold. Taking him on Day 2 would be palatable, but given the 49ers’ struggles with finding talent in Round 1 and a potential exodus of top-end talent in the coming years, the team needs to nail its first-round pick this year.

Finding a good player at any position is a far bigger priority than reaching for an OT just to check that box.

Read More

About the Author: Insidethe49

Insidethe49 Site Staff

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!