After Anthony Davis retired, the 49ers went through a few options at right offensive tackle before finally deciding Trent Brown was their man.
Now, in his third professional season, Brown is blossoming into a fine player.
Paired with Joe Staley on the left side, the 49ers finally have a strong pair of bookend tackles as the foundation of their offensive line.
On Sunday in an overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Staley and Brown had excellent games, giving up a combined zero sacks and just three quarterback pressures, according to the analytic website Pro Football Focus.
That Staley played well is no surprise. He’s been a perennial Pro Bowler and All-Pro pick over his career. But Brown is building off a 2016 season in which he became a full-time starter for the first time, playing all 16 games.
Now, the 6-foot-9, 376-pounder – a seventh-round choice out of Florida in 2015 – is coming into his own.
According to Pro Football Focus, he’s graded very well in three of four games and has the third best pass-blocking grade among all NFL offensive tackles a quarter way through the 2017 season, behind only longtime standouts Jason Peters of the Eagles and Joe Thomas of the Browns.
Wrote PFF of Brown’s play this year: “Brown had two perfect games of pass protection to start the season and has allowed a total of just five pressures over the four games he has played. His game against the Rams a week ago saw him perform only averagely, but this week he bounced back well.”
In four games and 163 snaps he has a 98.5 percent pass-blocking efficiency, with one sack allowed and two hurries.
Brown reported to camp stronger and with less fat after an offseason conditioning program, said general manager John Lynch. That’s paying off for him and the Niners. This summer during training camp, new head coach Kyle Shanahan said that when Brown is on, he can be terrific.
“I think you can ask any defensive lineman out there, he is very hard to beat in pass protection because his size and the length of his arms, and then he can move his feet,” said Shanahan.
Brown and the 0-4 49ers get their next opportunity this Sunday in Indianapolis against the 1-3 Colts. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. in the Bay Area.