The 49ers selected a cornerstone piece with the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft: tackle Mike McGlinchey, from Notre Dame, who is 6-foot-8 inches tall and weighs 315 pounds. Outside of the quarterback position itself, left tackle may be the most important position on an offense. The 49ers currently have a Pro Bowl left tackle in Joe Staley. Staley recently got a pay raise for the upcoming final two years of his deal, with no additional years added. This indicates that after his contract is up, he’s going to call it a career in the NFL. McGlinchey is the future at left tackle, but as for now he will be the starting right tackle for the 49ers. General Manager John Lynch traded 2017 starting right tackle Trent Brown to the Patriots after day one of the NFL draft for a third round pick, indicating McGlinchey will be the starter on the right side of the offensive line.
I take a look at where Mike McGlinchey won in college and also what he needs to improve on in the NFL.
Fake outside zone play-action pass Week 16 vs. Jacksonville
The outside zone run game is the anchor concept that head coach Kyle Shanahan builds his offense around. Most of the passing concepts that Kyle Shanahan runs work off of the outside zone running play, with play-action passing being the centerpiece of the 49ers passing game. This will be one of the first things that the 49ers look at when scouting a player for the offensive line. Does he have the lateral quickness and agility to perform in the outside zone? Mike McGlinchey has shown that he has the tools at his size to win running this style of run blocking.
Size is obviously a factor in winning on the outside zone run play. McGlinchey is a 315-pound tackle who has the agility to win against faster players in the NFL. Keeping the defender occupied while getting shifted to the play side of the field is important in this play. The defender needs to stay occupied with the tackle so the running back can make a play upfield.
Getting upfield on a checkdown is also an important skill-set that a tackle in a Kyle Shanahan offense needs to have. In 2017, starting running back Carlos Hyde had 88 targets; he was able to turn that into 59 catches for 350 yards. 49ers 2018 starting running back, Jerick McKinnon, had 51 catches for 421 yards with the Minnesota Vikings last season. McKinnon is a much better pass catcher than Hyde and he could see those numbers go up. McGlinchey can get upfield to block for his running backs out of the back field, which is a valuable skill-set to have for speedy McKinnon coming out of the backfield.
The passing game is what makes an NFL offense go. The days of a running game dictating an offense are gone. Yes, the run game is an important component to an NFL offense, but it’s a compliment to the passing game. You need a quarterback in the NFL that can win week in and week out in order to compete for a Super Bowl. The 49ers feel they have that in (undefeated) quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. McGlinchey was picked in the first round for one thing, to complement the cornerstone piece of the franchise in Garoppolo. His most important job will be keeping the quarterback upright in games. McGlinchey’s strongest attribute is his ability in the run game. That doesn’t mean he’s not great in pass protection.
McGlinchey shows good footwork and great recovery in pass protection. He lets the defender cross his face but does well in recovering to protect his quarterback. This is a trait that is important in the NFL. He does well against defenders trying to use strength to win. McGlinchey is clearly a very strong and mechanically-sound pass protector.
Sometimes he runs into issues when going against speed.
This play was at a very important stage in the game. Late in the third quarter, down by one and driving for a game winning field goal, McGlinchey lets the defender get across his face and cannot recover, causing a strip sack fumble. This is something he is going to need to fix if he is to succeed in the NFL. Starting him at right tackle will help.
McGlinchey is clearly a starting caliber tackle in the NFL. He wins in the run game and will be a huge upgrade over Trent Brown when it comes to running the cornerstone run concept, the outside zone. He has some work to do in pass protection but is still very good at it so that isn’t a huge concern. McGlinchey looks to be a cornerstone piece to the 49ers offense for years to come.