For years the 49ers believed that lighter, mobile and quick offensive line men were the key to success in the NFL. This philosophy was installed by Bill Walsh back in the 80's. Only Recently however have the ideals started to change.
The lighter offensive linemen were supposed to be the perfect fit to the West Coast offense. Unfortunately however, defenses adapt, they adapted to the 49ers offensive line, and now the 9ers are struggling to keep Steve Young safe. With defenses increasing in size, the 49ers were left with one option.
Find bigger offensive linemen, who were still mobile. They had started making the transition after the 1997 season. They began with signing of Ray Brown, then Kevin Gogan, they installed Chris Dalman at center and Kirk Scrafford at left tackle (now retired). The quest has continued into this off-season. The 49ers were in desperate need of a offensive tackle because Deese was just barely decent and Scrafford is now retired. They elected Jamie Brown to join the team, and all it took was a 2nd round pick in 1999 that went to Denver. 4.5 Million dollars later, Jamie Brown the 6-8 320 pound man was a 49er.
However there is still more work to be done. That's what the draft will be used for. Though the 49ers may not choose an offensive lineman in the first round, they will definitely choose one. This larger yet still mobile line will help bring versatility back to the 49ers.
Over the last few seasons, regardless of if Steve Young was healthy or not, the 49ers had trouble running or passing. When they could run, they couldn't pass and vise versa. Against Green Bay the 9ers couldn't run and became one dimensional, something that can change, if fixed from the route up. However the 49ers chose to do this backwards, they found a running back before their line when they should have done the opposite.
Now that the 49ers will have a huge offensive line, that is also fairly young, they will be able to use their offense to its full potential. Garrison Hearst will have huge holes to run through, and Steve Young should have tons of time to throw the ball and stay on his feet. Combine this with a good defense, and you have a stellar team.