Well, the San Francisco 49ers certainly have an interesting situation with their offensive line going forward. The line currently consists of Joe Staley and Anthony Davis as the starting tackles, with Alex Boone as the swing man to backup, Jonathan Goodwin at center, Mike Iupati at left guard and, supposedly, 2011 draftee Daniel Kilgore penciled in as the starter at right guard.
In short, the 49ers have no backup interior linemen and only one backup tackle. Boone is pretty versatile as a tackle, so they're pretty set there, but they have, at best, a fringe starter at right guard and no backups on the interior right now. Many have said Kilgore could be the guy going forward, and that could turn out to be the case, as a late-round guy without a full offseason of work due to the lockout.
As it turns out, the 49ers may be in the market for a new backup tackle. Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reported yesterday that the team plans to let Boone compete for the starting right guard position. As it stands, Boone would be competing with Kilgore. He should be favored to beat him for the spot, provided he can make the transition.
Boone played well in relief last season, and many started to wonder if he should take over the right tackle position currently manned by Davis, given his propensity to be eaten alive by speed rushers. He should be able to beat Kilgore at this point, but who knows how he'll fit in the position? In the piece from Maiocco, there's a quote from LeCharles Bentley, a two-time Pro Bowl lineman, who suggests that Boone is a better tackle than a guard.
He goes on to say that the guards in the 49ers system are a dime a dozen, and Boone could be an exceptional tackle. This writer tends to agree with that, which bring up one question: why not kick Davis inside and make Boone the right tackle? It's obvious Boone has talent at the tackle position, and his biggest issues on the inside would be just how tall and lanky he is. He might just be too big to play the guard position.
Davis is a big fella himself, but it would make a lot more sense to have him next to Goodwin than Boone, who is actually pretty quick on his feet for someone his size. The only caveat to this is the fact that so much was invested in Davis -- but if it's better for the team, then it's better for the team. Draft status can't factor into what's happening on the field. Then again, Davis is still very young and could develop into a top-flight right tackle.
Still, the 49ers are going to try Boone out there - and it really does fit the "put your best five players on the line" mantra. It will be interesting to see where the 49ers go with the draft -- it's safe to assume they'll draft at least two offensive linemen --will there be some stiff competition in those draftees?