Monday, January 27, 2014
What should 49ers do at center?
By Bill Williamson
One area that may undergo some change in 2014 for the San Francisco 49ers is the offensive line, particularly center.
It is the one position on the line where the team may have a new starter. Jonathan Goodwin, who has been the 49ers' starting center for the past three seasons, is 35 and he is a free agent.
There is a chance the 49ers could re-sign Goodwin -- though some wonder if he could have interest in playing for Arizona where his brother, Harold, is the offensive coordinator -- for a short-term deal. The 49ers, however, may look at this as an opportunity to develop a youngster. Daniel Kilgore, Joe Looney and Ryan Seymour are all interior lineman who could have futures. With Goodwin a free agent and guard Mike Iupati possibility entering his final season with the club, the development of all three are important.
The 49ers also could draft a center this year. A premium usually isn't put on the position in the draft, so the 49ers could potentially get a top center prospect in the second or third round. They have two picks in each round and could get a third third-rounder as a compensatory pick.
ESPN analyst Matt Williamson said he thought the 49ers' offensive line took a step back in 2013 and thinking toward the future may be smart.
“If he wants to take a one-year deal at a very team friendly rate, I say bring him back,” Williamson said. “But I would draft a guy either way reasonably high, which shouldn't be that big of a deal for a team that doesn't have a lot of huge needs.”
Because the 49ers are deep and have so many draft picks, this may be the perfect time to make some moves geared for the future on the offensive line.