Former 49ers GM thinks 49ers might’ve found their Trent Williams replacement

Offensive tackle was often circled as the 49ers’ most glaring need heading into the NFL draft. We speculated here at Niners Wire that they might even trade up to find an upgrade at right tackle who could conceivably switch to the left side whenever Trent Williams decided to retire. Not only did San Francisco not trade up, they didn’t appear to draft an offensive tackle at all. However, former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan believes one of their two selections on the offensive line could actually succeed Williams.

The 49ers didn’t address their offensive line in either the first or second round this year, opting to wait until the third round to pounce. At that point they traded up from No. 94 to No. 86 to select Kansas OL Dominick Puni. While Puni spent all of last season playing left tackle for the Jayhawks, he has experience at right tackle and guard, and most draft analysts project him as a guard. While McCloughan told Matt Barrows of the Athletic he believes Puni will play guard, the former GM didn’t rule out the third-round pick moving back to his natural left tackle position someday.

“I think he’ll end up being a guard,” McCloughan said in the Athletic. “He’s really good with his hips and feet. Really good. But I’m not so sure he can’t be a left tackle when it’s all said and done … if he gets stronger.”

This would be a pretty huge deal for San Francisco. Finding a replacement for Williams is going to move further up the priority list every offseason and if they got that player in Round 3 it’d check a sizable box for their future.

That’s a long way off though for Puni who will need to first prove he can hang at either right guard or right tackle in his first season. It sounds like San Francisco views him as competitor for the starting right guard spot for now. If he wins that and plays well though he could start getting looks for a move back out to tackle.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire