It’s an odd feeling going into NFL training camp with no visual indicators of how players look. A global pandemic forced the NFL to cancel its offseason schedule and the preseason.
Instead, the San Francisco 49ers started the 2020 season with nasal swabs and virtual meetings before moving into strength and conditioning. The first padded practice isn’t until next week, and the world will not see live football until Thursday, September 10, 2020.
The starting offensive line for this year’s 49ers is nearly set, though the battle for the reserve positions could be exciting camp battles. General manager John Lynch’s acquisition of All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams was a masterful plan. On the third day of the 2020 NFL draft, Lynch sent a 2020 fifth-round pick and a 2021 third-round selection to Washington to obtain Williams.
Every offseason, I hope the 49ers’ brass gets wise and finally makes a significant investment in the interior offensive line. And just like every Christmas as a child, I am left disappointed.
The 49ers enter the 2020 season with a questionable interior offensive line, which seems to be a dominant theme in the Lynch-Shanahan era.
Six-year veteran guard Laken Tomlinson has been a consistent figure in the 49ers’ starting line-up since signing with the team on August 31, 2017. His ability to remain healthy and work in a system that caters to some of his skills is what makes him valuable.
Unfortunately, Tomlinson continues to struggle in pass blocking. He gives up 3.6 sacks, 30.2 pressures, and 22.2 hurries per season. His Pro Football Focus overall grade is 65.5 per season.
While Lynch deserves applause for signing Williams, he gets a thumbs down for doing nothing to find a new left or right guard.