One of the key discussion points surrounding the 49ers’ Super Bowl loss was the play of their offensive line, particularly in a couple of huge spots late in the fourth quarter and overtime.

While offensive tackle may be atop that list of OL needs, they could conceivably aim for upgrades on the interior as well.

NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah on Thursday in a conference call mentioned a trio of offensive linemen who could be plug-and-play to help San Francisco right away in 2024. Jeremiah in his most recent mock draft had Duke offensive lineman Graham Barton going to the 49ers late in the first round — a player he believes is a better prospect than 49ers left guard Aaron Banks was in the 2021 draft when San Francisco selected him 48th overall.

“I don’t necessarily think that’s too high,” Jeremiah said of Barton going in the first round. “He started a ton of games. He’s played center. I think that’s where his ultimate best position is going to be is at center. He can play anywhere. Obviously recently having played left tackle. I had a higher grade on him just to compare the two players you’re talking about with him and Banks. I had a higher grade on him. I don’t think that’s crazy.”

A tackle prospect who could plug in at any of the interior positions fits the prototype of the offensive linemen the 49ers have drafted the last few years where versatility has been a calling card.

Barton isn’t the only first-round option San Francisco could consider though. Jeremiah had a couple other players in mind for the 49ers in the first round.

“I would say when you look at the interior guys in this draft, there’s other
options too,” Jeremiah said. “I have done more work since my initial top 50 list came out. I’ll end up having Jackson Powers-Johnson over Graham Barton, but I really like Graham Barton too and I like Zach Frazier.

“I think all three of those guys would be plug and play guys. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but they’re in win now, let’s go mode, and I think these guys — those three interior guys are plug and play for me.”

There may be other starting caliber players at other positions of need for San Francisco, but given their struggles at finding reliable offensive linemen and quality depth it would behoove them to grab a Day 1 starter at that spot if one falls to them.

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