Why the 49ers need an Upgrade over Offensive Linemen Brandon Fusco

The 49ers have recently re-signed two offensive linemen; center Daniel Kilgore and offensive tackle Garry Gilliam. With that being said, should the 49ers also re-sign offensive linemen Brandon Fusco? Hold that thought…


Niners Live recently provided our list of free agent offensive linemen the 49ers should target and consider. And guess what? Brandon Fusco who’s an average (according to Pro Football Focus) pass 78.9 and run 74.4 blocking grade, respectively, and at best, wasn’t on that list.

According to PFF Fusco, who’s 29 years of age, was an underrated signing of 2017 who got better over the second half of the season with his pass protection in which he allowed just eight quarterback pressures over his final eight games after allowing 21 through his first eight.

Fusco isn’t a top tier player or an elite level guard or a difference maker in the run or passing game. And his 76.0 (21st rank guard) overall PFF grade helps make that case. 

Fusco is a seven-year pro that’s appeared in 83 games starting 80 (16 with the 49ers) of those contests.  He’s never made the Pro-Bowl or an All-Pro team. In 2017 he tied fellow guard and teammate (Laken Tomlinson ) for a team-high in sacks being surrendered by an offensive lineman with six.

What about penalties? He was tied (with Tomlinson) on the team for second with five penalties (four being false starts, second highest on the team). 

Why the 49ers need an upgrade over offensive linemen Brandon Fusco

The 49ers made a choice to re-sign center Kilgore first as a priority amongst their pending free agent offensive linemen. Kilgore isn’t a powerful center. He’s more of a “Steady-Eddie” player that is a technically sound player who has good chemistry with his franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

With the signing of Kilgore, the 49ers have to upgrade the guard play/interior line around Kilgore ( has trouble with powerful defensive tackles that bull-rush) so he can be more effective and help open up holes and sustain blocks in the running game (21st in rushing in 2017) and provide clearer passing lanes for Jimmy G. 

Interesting to note:  The 49ers will meet with Carlos Hyde’s agent at the combine (per Matt Maiocco). Hyde had his lowest rush per average at (3.9) under Fusco’s watch. Hyde averaged (4.6) yards per rush in 2016. 

The 49ers have cheaper/younger options returning to the team: Joshua Garnett and versatile linemen Eric Magnuson from injury to name a few (see above: Fusco is an average guard) that can compete for any of the two guard spots. And the 49ers have draft options at their disposal as recently discussed on Niners Live. 

If Fusco is re-signed it will be nothing more than a one or two year deal. Don’t expect Fusco to be an opening day starter. 

Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course. Often imitated, but never duplicated.

All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football Focus49ers.comESPN.comNFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Content Creator, player break down specialist, Co-Editor Sequoia Sims

One thought on “Why the 49ers need an Upgrade over Offensive Linemen Brandon Fusco

  • March 1, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Brandon Fusco would be a smart re-signing of a solid playing Guard who improved his play as the season progressed in year 1 of a new system.
    Tomlinson is a good reserve, Garnett last played as a Rookie & did not grade out near at the level of Fusco last season. There is expectations of his improvement but nothing yet suggests a rapid improvement.
    49ers have a definite need to improve the play at Left Guard. In that regard there are 3 plug & play UFA’s available. The only draft able supposedly sure-thing is Nelson & he is very liable to be long gone before the 49ers selection at #9 or 10.

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