I recently saw this older video from Brian Baldinger looking at McDaniel's run game with the 49ers. Good stuff. As I watched, though, one thought kept coming to mind - can our OL block like that? We've only had one pre-season game which mostly features our backups so we really don't have much to go on, but, what we did see wasn't great. There's a recent video from a guy called Barry Cunningham that's maybe a bit on the negative side but points out some issues with Coleman at backup LT and other members of the OL that don't look good... Last year we were worst in the league. This year I was hoping we could approach average. I'm a strong believer that the OL, perhaps more than any other unit, depends upon cohesive play and that an average line that is well coached and plays together can perform at an above average standard. Similarly, a sub-standard line in terms of talent can perform at an average standard in the same way. We've had a coaching change, so I hope that's a positive move, time will tell, but, in terms of talent, I can't help but think that for all the defensive talent he finds, Grier just can't draft for the OL. He seems to be a trait guy, looking for athleticism (or some other trait of the day), but it doesn't necessarily translate well to on-field success. Here's our draft history, OL in purple: Obviously, this wasn't all Grier, but seriously, most of these names are all gone and forgotten. There are drafts with no OL at all. The ones we have picked, generally haven't been great. It's not good. Grier needs to recognise he and/or his scouts can't draft offensive linemen to save their lives and they need to do something about it. And yes, I'm still chafed over the Hunter Long pick when there were decent OL picks still to be had. We moved up to Eichenberg at 42, I won't fault him for that because he promised to be good (and hopefully he will be), but: Creed Humphrey, who looks set to be elite, was on the board and eventually went at 63. Josh Myers isn't great but so far looks at least as good as Eich and he went at 62. Brady Christensen has also done well, he went at 70. Later on there was Kendrick Green, again, not great, but rates around the same as Eich except he went at 87. Ah, and let's not forget Spencer Brown on the Bills. He has been doing very well and went at 93. Robert Hainsey went to the Bucs at 95 and he rates substantially higher than Eichenberg. But the one that really grates is Quinn Meinerz. Drafted 98th to the Broncos. He stepped up into a starting role when called on and has done admirably. I said I'll give Grier a pass on Eichenberg, there's still time for him, and the coaching last year was questionable at best. Plus, I can't complain about not building an OL and then also about moving up to grab someone. Draft picks always involve risk. What I will say, however, is that the pick of Hunter Long at 81 was ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous. I get it, Grier was trying to hit a home run by finding Gesicki's replacement before needing to pay him and providing offensive weaponry at low cost. That's nice and all, but had he not seen our OL? Did he really think web had the luxury space for a cute move? This is what I mean about not valuing the position. Put depth to one side, we needed, and still need, starter upgrades, yet Grier spent a 3rd rounder on a pass catching TE? We could have had any of those OL guys mentioned above. We might have been able to have two. Instead we got Long... Sorry. It bugs me. I'll move on. The point is this, if we're going to have a varied and technical offense that balances run and pass and that has a strong focus on precision performance, we can't have offensive linemen who struggle with the basics. I'm still hopeful we'll see a leap forward this year and the OL won't be a massive liability. However, if I had to keep an eye on one unit with a bit of paranoia, it will be the OL. What do you think guys?