Who Will Replace Trent Williams at Left Tackle?

Sep 27, 2022, 2:12 PM | Updated: 2:49 pm

Trent Williams #71 of the San Francisco 49ers takes the field for pregame warm-ups prior to a game ...

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 16: Trent Williams #71 of the San Francisco 49ers takes the field for pregame warm-ups prior to a game against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The 49ers’ loss to the Broncos during Week 3’s 11-10 barnburner is the least of the 49ers’ worries at the moment. Losing their All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, that’s the biggest worry.

Williams, 34, suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday in Colorado, putting him on the sidelines for the next month or so.

“The swelling’s pretty bad, so high-ankles are usually, just for everyone, they say four-to-six [weeks], but sometimes it can be sooner and sometimes it can be longer. So that’s why I didn’t give an exact date, too early to tell,” Shanahan said, via conference call.

The injury occurred Sunday when Broncos DT D.J. Jones fell into Williams’ right ankle at the 49ers’ goalline, sending him to the ground in a heap of pain. The cart was initially brought out but the offensive tackle limped to the tunnel under his own power.

An IR designation is not necessary at this time but the left tackle will be evaluated vigorously throughout his rehab. Prior to his exit, Trent Williams had been dominating in the trenches. Through 19 pass-blocking opportunities, he hadn’t allowed a sack, quarterback hit, or even a pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo.

The loss of their All-Pro for up to six games is devastating for the Red & Gold, considering their zone-run game is a staple of Shanahan’s offense. Now to the question of who replaces him on the left side of the line.

The 49ers have options but, to be frank, none compare to the Texas native, who is able to perform blocks and get to the second level like no other lineman in the league.

With that being said, Kyle Shanahan noted Monday that OT Colton McKivitz will be taking over the duties while Williams is sidelined.

The backup tackle was the likely choice to replace No.71 initially during Sunday’s contest, but struggling prospect Jaylon Moore was instead sent out there. McKivitz had been dealing ankle injury sustained at the start of the week, forcing Shanahan to go with his lesser-experienced tackle.

“I’d expect McKivitz to go [Week 4 against the Los Angeles Rams],” Shanahan said. “That’s probably what would have happened last week in the beginning if he didn’t get dinged up in practice and missed all those reps, but most likely it’ll be that. And hopefully, we can get [OL Daniel Brunskill] back to possibly help us out inside.”

McKivitz, 26, is only in his third season in the NFL after being drafted by San Francisco with a fifth-round pick in 2020. The backup OT has suited up for 18 games since joining the 49ers, starting in four of those during his first two seasons.

Shanahan eluded to the prospect of OL Daniel Brunskill practicing this week as well, a welcome sight for the Faithful on the interior.

“Yeah, hopeful to get Brunskill back this week in practice,” Shanahan stated. “Hopefully we can get Dan back to possibly help us out inside.”

A promoted part of the interior of the offensive line, Brunskill has been on the mend since suffering a significant hamstring injury during training camp. He has not practiced since but could be returning this week to shore up a depleted 49ers O-Line.


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Who Will Replace Trent Williams at Left Tackle?