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We Signed a Guard - Brandon Fusco


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More info on him...




Fusco, 29, has started 80 of 83 career games since coming into the league as a 2011 sixth round selection of the Minnesota Vikings. He spent most of his career in Minnesota, where he primarily started at right guard, before joining the 49ers last year and starting all 16 games at the position. Pro Football Focus had him as an average starting right guard, and critically he graded out better than Atlanta’s own Wes Schweitzer at the position. He’s a strong fit for the blocking scheme the Falcons employ, as is evinced by the fact that he just started 16 games for a Kyle Shanahan offense.

At worst, Fusco will push for starting duties and serve as experienced depth if he doesn’t win the job outright. The Falcons suddenly have quite a few contenders for roster spots at the guard position, even if Ben Garland primarily serves as a backup to Alex Mack, and there’s a chance they may attempt to move (or even cut ties with) one of Garland, Sean Harlow, and Schweitzer before the season starts.

I’m honestly a little baffled by the attention paid to guard, especially before the draft, but the Falcons obviously aren’t satisfied with Schweitzer being the unquestioned starter at right guard after he had some long stints on the struggle bus in 2017. He and Sean Harlow may be in play at left guard a year from now if the Falcons part ways with Andy Levitre, but given the team’s focus on the trenches, they may not be done adding players just yet. It’s clear the team intends to attack their perceived weakness at guard with competition, and to ensure they have quality backups on hand if Levitre struggles or gets injured in 2018.

We’re a long way off from this situation settling itself, however, so for now we’ll welcome Fusco to Atlanta. I’d go ahead and pencil him into the starting lineup.

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From the Niners reporters

San Francisco 49ers: Why re-signing OG Brandon Fusco makes sense

The San Francisco 49ers are expected to make some changes along their offensive line this offseason, although re-signing guard Brandon Fusco would be a wise move.


It’s pretty safe to speculate the San Francisco 49ers are going to make some changes for their offensive line heading into 2018. And some of the bigger names have been the Carolina Panthers’ Andrew Norwell in free agency, as well as Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson via the NFL Draft.

Either or both would be great, and there are even other fallback options worth considering.

Yet a wise contingency plan for San Francisco includes re-signing right guard Brandon Fusco, who hits the open market after a one-year deal for 2017.


Niners Nation’s James Brady had a nice breakdown of Fusco’s impact last season, primarily looking at the data and analysis from Pro Football Focus.

Fusco was slightly better last season in pass blocking, posting a 78.9 pass-blocking grade, compared to a 74.4 run-blocking mark, per PFF. He allowed 29 pressures, which was tied for 13th most in 2017, although the majority of data suggests he’s a middle-of-the-pack type interior lineman.

San Francisco could use one of those.

The Niners’ situation along the interior O-line has some outstanding questions. Yes, center Daniel Kilgore’s recent three-year extension alleviates some. But guard play isn’t figured out yet. It’s anyone’s guess how the free-agent market plays itself out, even if the 49ers have plenty of cap space. And the NFL Draft remains a craps shoot.

An X-factor to consider here is third-year guard Joshua Garnett, who missed all of 2017 recovering from a knee injury.

The former first-round pick spent last season reshaping his body to better fit head coach Kyle Shanahan’s zone-style offense. Yet Garnett is still a carryover from the previous regime, and it’s impossible to totally gauge how Shanahan and Co. view the former Stanford product in the overall picture.

Even if Garnett remains in San Francisco’s plans, and the Niners land either Norwell, Nelson or someone else this offseason, Fusco provides above-average depth and competition at a vital position.

His $1.4 million total cap hit in 2017 might be increased slightly, let’s say in the range of $1.75 million, making Fusco a relatively cheap addition to the 49ers depth chart.

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Before everybody loses their mind over signing this guy, let's not forget that Ben Garland is only tendered, not resigned. If he is at least equal to if not better than Garland, I don't see the problem with this depth signing.  If he can compete with and beat out Wes, even better.

At worst, we now have better depth at guard.

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No cap room and bigger holes on the DL...this new guy to throw into the RG competition(who admittedly appears to have the slight upperhand on paper) is what you can afford when your QB who has already made well into 9 figures refuses to provide any sort of Brady or Brees like hometown discount when his team is on the brink of greatness.  <---I pray I'm roasted for being wrong as soon as he signs but it's annoying Ryan hasn't signed before free agency.

It will be interesting to see if they rescind the RFA tag on Garland if he hasn't signed yet.

Edited by falconfanatic365
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Wes's play was so bad last season that an average RG is an upgrade.

I am happy about this signing.  While I want the best OL in the league, an upgrade at RG is a big deal for us and our effectiveness in the red zone.  

Now, we can go BPA in the first round and draft a developmental OL a bit later.  

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Let's not be so bummed out by this. This guy was a starter. ****zer isnt on any team in this league. Average is a vast upgrade from poor. I like it. We can still grab another guy in 2nd or 3rd if we aren't happy with development. I mean we did win 10 games with ****zer!  Welcome home Brandon. Do your job and we improve a ton. 

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