It has been a whirlwind week for the 49ers with the joyful moments when we resigned Jimmy Garoppolo, that sinking feeling when Reuben Foster once again got into some trouble with the law and the underwhelming return of Daniel Kilgore. Make no mistake there is still a need for more talent on our offensive line, with that in mind here are a few unheralded names to keep an eye out for with the combined and draft rapidly approaching.
Joe Noteboom (Tackle, TCU): Noteboom has very good size at 6’5 322 pounds. On tape his strength is clear, he anchors well in the pass game whilst keeping power rushers under control. He sometimes loses his balance when faced with inside moves because of his footwork. Noteboom shows decent athletic ability and does a good job getting to the second level on run plays. He would fit in nicely in a zone scheme and could be the swing tackle right now whilst working to eventually take over from the effervescent Joe Staley. This would be a solid pick somewhere in the late third to early fourth round.
Chukwuma Okorafor (Tackle, Western Michigan) : What immediately stands out on tape is his phenomenal size. At 6’6 330 pounds this behemoth of a man has impressive feet but is hampered by poor hand placement/usage. He struggled with speed rushers like TJ Watt in college because he doesn’t use his hands well, he consistently allowed defenders to get their hands on him first. On occasion his size hinders the leverage he plays with. Presently his best fit would be a power scheme but with better coaching he might be a future starter. Okorafor struggles when asked to run block on the move, he fails to make contact with defenders far too often. If he is available in the fourth round we should definitely roll the dice on him given he has all the essential tools of good football player if properly developed.
Scott Quessenberry (Center, UCLA): the first thing you notice is this player is smooth, he has good agility and moves his feet well. Quessenberry is a four-year starter who has played guard and center. This experience shows in his game, he combines his hand placement and body positioning well to fend of rushers. At 6’3 310 pounds he has very good size for the position, he gets to the second level with ease paving roads for running backs. One area I think he could use some development is in his overall strength therefore he does not generate enough movement in the run game and can sometimes be susceptible to a bull rush. After signing Daniel Kilgore, I don’t believe there will be a free agent acquisition at center however we might be drafting a player suited to the zone scheme in the later rounds who can contribute to versatility along the interior offensive line. This will help provide competition and depth which is paramount on any good football team.
Colby Gossett (Guard, Appalachian State ): So you want to improve our rushing attack? Well Gossett is that guy, coming from one of college football’s best rushing offenses. This small school prospect has a mean streak and is physical at the point of attack. At 6’6, 320 pounds, he has impressive size and is as durable as they come having not missed a game in college because of injury. Although he has such a big frame he plays with good leverage and anchors well in pass protection. He has shown the ability to pull and get to the second level where his size and agility make him dangerous to defenders. While he does need to improve his hand usage and overall strength, Colby Gossett is one of my favorite prospects in this draft class and a solid day three pick which could produce a future starter.
Sean Welsh (Guard, Iowa): A 6’3, 295 pound guard with a feel good story. This Hawkeye alumni has battled depression, he had to take a step away from football and overcome his troubles. He had to fall in love with the game all over and work to regain perspective. You can check his story out here
As a prospect Welsh is a fairly polished offensive lineman and he does a good job run blocking. He drives defenders off the ball and does an adequate job when asked to pull. Welsh also anchors well in pass protection and mirrors defenders easily, he has impressive lower body strength despite being slightly under-sized. There are tendencies to grab when beaten by speed rushers which maybe a reflection of his below average athleticism. A developmental player that could be selected on day three.
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