Mike McGlinchey is one of the best run-blocking right tackles in the NFL.
His dominance in the running game is exactly what the 49ers expected when they selected McGlinchey with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 draft.
While McGlinchey rates highly in that phase of the game, according to Pro Football Focus, he is near the bottom when it comes to pass protection.
McGlinchey has not played as consistently as the 49ers would like to see from a player who showed plenty of promise during his first two NFL seasons.
McGlinchey weighed 309 pounds at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. He dropped some weight to better function in the 49ers’ zone-blocking scheme.
He worked this offseason with Dustin Perry, the 49ers’ head of strength and conditioning coach, to chart the best course toward keeping him strong and healthy throughout the season.
During training camp, veteran cornerback Richard Sherman referred to McGlinchey as “The Big Slim.” McGlinchey said in late-August he lost about “five-ish” pounds and was somewhere around 295 to 300 pounds.
Coach Kyle Shanahan was asked Sunday after the 49ers’ 23-15 loss to Washington if McGlinchey’s weight loss caused him to lose strength.
“His weight does fluctuate,” Shanahan said. “I think he was lighter this year, but that’s stuff we’ll talk about at the end of the season and hopefully have an offseason to be able to figure out whatever’s best for him.”
McGlinchey was called for a critical holding penalty against Washington second-year defensive end Montez Sweat. The infraction nullified Nick Mullens’ 22-yard pass completion to Kendrick Bourne to the Washington 22-yard line with less than two minutes remaining.
Running back Jeff Wilson did not chip Sweat as he left the backfield to that side, leaving McGlinchey vulnerable to Sweat’s outside rush. McGlinchey wrapped his right arm around Sweat and brought him down, allowing Mullens just enough time to get rid of the ball before the yellow flag came out.
“They’ve got a good D-line and we got in situations where they could tee off a little bit, which puts a challenge on our whole O-line,” Shanahan said. “But, obviously, we’ve got to do better and find a way to avoid that penalty.”
The penalty occurred on a third-and-2 play and pushed the 49ers back to third and 12. The drive stalled after an incompletion and a fourth-down pass that was stopped 2 yards short of the first down.
McGlinchey is the No. 3-ranked run-blocking right tackle, according to PFF’s grading system.
But of 32 right tackles who have played 400 snaps or more, McGlinchey is 26th as a pass blocker. (McGlinchey has played 903 snaps this season.)
In the 49ers’ first 13 games, McGlinchey surrendered 29 total quarterback pressures, according to PFF, including three sacks, 10 hits and 16 hurries.
He has also been called for four holding penalties, which have resulted in 94 nullified yards.
McGlinchey is wrapping up the third season on his original four-year contract. The 49ers must make a decision this offseason whether to pick up the fifth-year option for the 2022 season, which makes his pay for the next two seasons fully guaranteed.