Former GM McCloughan makes case for 49ers' first-round pick with Garoppolo in house

In case you hadn’t noticed, the 49ers are 0-8 and staring down another top-5 pick in the NFL draft. Most assumed that pick would be used on a quarterback – but after Monday’s deadline trade with the Patriots for Jimmy Garoppolo, things changed drastically.

The Niners secured their intended QB of the future and it didn’t cost them their prized first-rounder.

The question now becomes, “What’s the best way for the 49ers to utilize that projected top-3 or -5 draft pick?” How can the front office capitalize on that value without quarterback being a need?

When asked, former 49ers GM Scott McCloughan without hesitation said, “Any position on the o-line.”

That came as a surprise to most, considering the 49ers are in the thick of the Saquon Barkley sweepstakes.

But McCloughan acknowledged that.

“You can have the best back in the league but if you don’t have anyone upfront to block for him, it’s over,” McCloughan added.

McCloughan also said “any” position on the offensive line. And he reinforced that his suggestion includes offensive tackle. While the 49ers have Pro Bowler Joe Staley, he will be 34 years old at the beginning of next season, and Trent Brown is still nothing more than an inconsistent talent with superior measurables.

Early in the draft, the 49ers could expect to choose from players like Texas OT Connor Williams, Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey and Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson. These are players that project as Pro Bowl or even All-Pro talents at the next level, any of which would make sense.

The Niners' priorities should be to protect their investment in Garoppolo, activate their running game, and take the burden off an up-and-coming defense. That all points to addressing the offensive line.

Media courtesy USA Today Sports Images, Getty Images

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