NFL Draft

Why 49ers did not select true offensive tackle in draft

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SANTA CLARA — The 49ers repeatedly have said how much they like their starting offensive tackles.

And their actions over the past three days proved they are not lying.

The 49ers did not select a true offensive tackle in the 2024 NFL Draft. Their new offensive linemen — Dominick Puni and Jarrett Kingston — might have position flexibility to play tackle, but both come to the 49ers with the intention of first learning the guard positions.

When the 49ers first went on the clock at No. 31 overall, there already had been nine offensive linemen chosen in the draft. Clearly, the 49ers did not believe any starting-caliber tackles still were on the board. The rest of the league apparently agreed, as the next tackle was drafted 25 spots later when Miami selected Houston tackle Patrick Paul at No. 55 overall.

“We looked at numerous guys throughout the process,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said of offensive tackles. “I think when you're drafting 31st, it's oftentimes hard to find a tackle that you really love.

“And we like our tackles as they stand right now. We like our depth with Jaylon Moore being a really talented guy who can play the swing role.”

The 49ers’ starting tackles are 11-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams, protecting Brock Purdy’s back, and Colton McKivitz on the right side. Williams will be 36 when the season opens, while McKivitz will be 28 to begin his second season as the full-time starter.

McKivitz had an up-and-down season in 2023, beginning with a season opener at Pittsburgh where he yielded three sacks to star edge rusher T.J. Watt in one-on-one matchups.

McKivitz finished the season strong, as he played a big role in holding Detroit defensive end Aidan Hutchinson without a sack or tackle in the 49ers’ 34-31 victory in the NFC Championship Game.

The 49ers featured one of the top offenses in the NFL last season in both yards gained and points scored.

Purdy was sacked 28 times in 16 games, and threw for a franchise-record 4,280 yards while leading the NFL in passer rating (113.0) and yards per attempt (9.6). Running back Christian McCaffrey led the NFL with 1,459 rushing yards.

Moore and veteran Brandon Parker are the 49ers’ top backup tackles.

Moore, a fifth-round draft pick in 2021 from Western Michigan, started seven games over his first three NFL seasons. He enters the final year of his contract.

Parker fills the veteran backup role that Matt Pryor held last season. Parker spent his first six years with the Raiders, starting 33 of the 59 games in which he appeared. After starting 13 games in 2021, he missed all of 2022 with a torn triceps. He spent most of last season on injured reserve, too.

The 49ers gave Parker a clean bill of health during the free-agent signing period, and signed him to a one-year contract for the veteran minimum of approximately $1 million.

Puni and Kingston both played offensive tackle in college, and the 49ers are keeping open the possibility that either could move outside at some point in the future.

“We'll continue to always try to improve ourself and improve the depth of our team,” Lynch said. “But we're excited about our O-line group. I know a lot of people talk about that, but we feel pretty good about our group.”

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