What a year 2019 was for Daniel Brunskill. He played 535 snaps in the AAF, where Pro Football Focus graded him as a 59.3. That was good enough for 14th-best in the league, tied with fellow 49er Jaryd Jones-Smith. Brunskill allowed the second-most hurries in the AAF, per PFF. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Brunskill wouldn’t have made it out of the preseason with San Francisco.
Brunskill was thrust into the lineup after Mike McGlinchey went down. Nobody knew what to expect, but Brunskill didn’t disappoint. In his first action as a starter against the Rams, Brunskill didn’t allow a defender to get a hand on Jimmy Garoppolo. In 233 pass-blocking snaps, Brunskill allowed two sacks and zero quarterback hits. When you factor how little experience Brunskill had coming into this season, his performance at three positions was impressive.
There were games where I felt like Brunskill was the best lineman on the field. He isn’t going to make the highlight blocks that make the rounds on social media, but Brunskill is effective in every way that’s needed from an offensive lineman.
Weight: 300 pounds
Experience: One season
Brunskill will make $675,000 in 2020. If the team releases Brunskill, they’ll save the same amount as his contract is not guaranteed. Over the Cap has Brunskill as the 73rd highest-paid guard in the NFL.
Odds on making the Pro Bowl Roster
Brunskill’s spot on the roster isn’t guaranteed as his salary isn’t. If Tom Compton, Ross Reynolds, or Colton McKivitz make Brunskill expendable, the 49ers have shown they are not going to keep a player for the sake of keeping him, no matter what they did the year before. That’s what you want in an organization. Kyle Shanahan has said Brunskill can play all five positions on the offensive line if he needed to. It’s hard to find that type of versatility. It’d be an upset if Brunskill weren’t on the roster in 2020.
What to expect in 2020
Brunskill was exceptional last season as a pass blocker. He rarely was beaten. When he was, it came against the likes of the Aaron Donald’s of the world. If Brunskill plateau’s as a pass protector, he’ll still be very good. Based on how he played last year, I have a difficult time seeing that happen.
Brunskill fits the 49ers offense as he’s more of scheme-blocker against the run than a standalone mauler that can hold his own. He’s plenty strong, and he will put you on your back, but he does need to do a better job of staying engaged on his blocks. Also, Brunskill is so athletic that sometimes he overruns defenders. Those will be Brunskill’s two biggest areas where he can improve. If he does that, he’ll love his contract extension next offseason.