OL Prospects and the 49ers

Williams would be a great fit, but on which side?

For months 49ers fans have speculated, commented and agonized about the need for a right tackle in the first round of this draft. Wouldn't it be an ironic twist if, when it's all said and done and all the picks have been made, that the best RT on the team is still the same man it's been all along in Joe Staley, who's been miscast as the LT these past two seasons?

Top Offensive Line Prospects

OT Russell Okung • 6-5 • 300 • Oklahoma State

Okung is an athletic, durable pass-blocking tackle who will immediately be a factor at the next level. He displays outstanding footwork, including a quick first step on his kick slide. He protects the edge very well as he uses his feet, frame and long arms to knock defenders off their rush. He must improve his awareness blocking in space, as well as his upper-body strength and run blocking technique. Projection: First Round

OT Bryan Bulaga (JR) • 6-6 • 290 • Iowa

Bulaga is a tall, athletic blocker who possesses the footwork and skill to be an elite bookend at the next level. He's quick off the snap, has a fast kick slide, bends his knees and uses his long arms and wide base to keep defenders at bay. He has to improve his upper and lower body strength. Projection: First Round

OT Trent Williams • 6-5 • 290 • Oklahoma

Williams is a versatile, hardworking lineman who has experience playing inside and outside. He's quick off the line and delivers a strong initial punch. He has to improve his kick slide coming out of his stance, and work on his balance. Projection: First Round

OT Anthony Davis • JR • 6-6 • 325 • Rutgers

Davis is an intriguing offensive tackle prospect who has prototypical size and tremendous upside. He's quick off the snap, makes good adjustments and possesses a strong upper body. He has a questionable work ethic, and conditioning has been a problem. Projection: First Round

OT Bruce Campbell (JR) • 6-7 310 • Maryland

Campbell is an intriguing, athletic lineman who has tremendous raw talent and upside. He has prototypical attributes and natural ability. He struggles against smaller defenders and has to add more bulk to his frame. Projection: First Round

OG Mike Iupati • 6-5 • 325 • Idaho

Iupati is a massive, physical lineman who mauls the opposition at the line of scrimmage. He has great size, strength and surprising athleticism. He has to work on his technique and not rely solely on his strength. Projection: First Round

C Maurkice Pouncey (JR) • 6-5 • 318 • Florida

Pouncey is an athletic, durable interior lineman who has the versatility to play center or guard. He has great size and strength to hold his ground against a bigger opposition. He primarily snapped the ball in the shotgun and will have to adapt to the more classic approach. Projection: First Round

OT Charles Brown • 6-6 • 295 • USC

Brown (left) is a promising, athletic tackle who can play on both sides. He sets with a wide base, works to bend his knees and keeps his feet moving. He's not a physical player and has to get stronger. Projection: Second Round

OT Rodger Saffold • 6-5 • 306 • Indiana

Saffold is an athletic, durable lineman who has extensive experience at left tackle, but could also play guard. He has great size and quick feet. He's a premiere pass protector, but has to improve his run blocking and explosiveness. Projection: Second Round

OFFENSIVE LINE

49ers Needs at Position: 9

Current Players: Joe Staley (T), Eric Heitmann (C), Chilo Rachal (G), David Baas (G), Barry Sims (T), Adam Snyder (G/T), Tony Wragge (G), Cody Wallace (C), Chris Patrick (T), Alex Boone (T), Brian De La Puente (G)

Positional Overview: The Niners have two starters they know they can count on in Staley and Heitmann. Both guards, Baas and Rachal, are starting caliber players, but they had down seasons in 2009. The team absolutely needs to find a new tackle, and it doesn't matter which side he plays because the versatile Staley can move back to right tackle if need be. Sims can be a stopgap starter but ideally he's a backup tackle. Same goes for Snyder, who can play guard as well. Wragge and Wallace are inexperienced players, but they've had time in the system for a couple years. Boone was on the practice squad last season.

When To Address: First and Sixth Rounds.

Who's There: Oklahoma State's Russell Okung is the only sure thing tackle in my opinion and he'll be gone long before the Niners' pick at 13. The best of the remaining bunch is Oklahoma's Trent Williams who's a bit of a ‘tweener in that his feet aren't quick enough for the left side and he's not strong enough to be a mauler at right tackle. Three second-level prospects are Rodger Saffold of Indiana, Tony Washington of Abilene Christian and Jared Veldheer of tiny Hillsdale College. A late round guard to watch is Mitch Petrus from Arkansas, who was the strongest player at the Scouting Combine.

SFI's Picks: Trent Williams, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma, 6'5" 290 lbs., Mitch Petrus, Guard, Arkansas, 6'4" 304 lbs. Williams should be good enough to start immediately, and he'll be a massive upgrade over Snyder. Petrus is more of a developmental guy who certainly has the body to play in the NFL, but needs to work on his technique.

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