Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Tuesday, April 6, 2010
How much to value a right tackle

By Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco's take on the 49ers possibly having to trade up from No. 13 for an offensive tackle hits on a significant theme in the 2010 NFL draft.

Seattle might have a shot at only the third-rated tackle -- all the way up at No. 6. That would make it tough for the 49ers and teams picking later in the round to feel as good about their options.

In 2007, the 28th overall choice landed the third-rated tackle, Joe Staley, and the 49ers were happy to draft him. Joe Thomas (third overall to Cleveland), Levi Brown (fifth to Arizona) and Ben Grubbs (28th to San Francisco) were the only other offensive linemen drafted in the first round.

The 49ers' need for a right tackle shouldn't blind them to value. Right tackles are still right tackles, not left tackles or quarterbacks. But finding a good one in the second round could be tougher if a first-round run on the position depletes the pool. Massachusetts' Vladimir Ducasse projects as a possible second-round choice with the size San Francisco might like at the position, but the 49ers aren't picking until 17 choices into the round.

As the chart shows, eight of the 12 playoff teams from last season used starting right tackles drafted in the first two rounds (by other teams in two cases). Brown was the only one chosen in the first half of the first round. The Cardinals drafted him to protect the blind side for left-handed quarterback Matt Leinart, although plans have changed. Brown is moving to left tackle this year, just as Leinart has become the starter following Kurt Warner's retirement.