Boone expected to get chance to compete at guard

607522.jpg

Boone expected to get chance to compete at guard

When the 49ers' offseason programs begins Monday, offensive lineman Alex Boone is likely to get a chance to show his versatility.Boone, who was the 49ers' primary backup at both offensive tackle positions last season, is expected to get a chance to compete for a starting job at guard, according to multiple individuals close to the team.Coach Jim Harbaugh regularly referred to Boone last season as one of his seven "starting" offensive linemen. Boone spent all of 2009 on the 49ers' practice squad after being an undrafted free agent from Ohio State. He saw action in just one game in 2010.Boone, who is listed at 6-foot-8, 300 pounds, took over for veteran Barry Sims as the 49ers' backup tackle on both sides last season. He played 172 snaps on offense, including 55 at left tackle on Dec. 11 against the Arizona Cardinals when Joe Staley exited in the first quarter with a concussion. Boone also saw limited action at right tackle and was used regularly as an extra blocker, mostly in short-yardage situations.LeCharles Bentley, a two-time Pro Bowl lineman whose career was cut short after six seasons due to a knee injury and complications from surgery, has worked closely with Boone for several years at Bentley's O-Line Academy near Cleveland.
"Alex can play guard if it's the best thing for the team, but physically it's not the ideal position for him," Bentley said. "Good guards are easier to find than good tackles. I believe Alex is a very good tackle in the making."Harbaugh stated during training camp last summer that the team's five best offensive linemen would start. Boone is expected to compete for a full-time job in 2012 -- though it might require a position change.
The 49ers have four obvious starters on the line, but the club is looking to replace right guard Adam Snyder, who started 15 games, including the playoffs.Snyder signed a five-year contract with the Cardinals as a free agent. And the 49ers have not show much interest in re-signing backup Chilo Rachal, whom Harbaugh also considered a starter even after he was benched at halftime of the 49ers' third game of the season.Daniel Kilgore, whom the 49ers traded up to select last year in the fifth round, is expected to compete for the starting job. Kilgore might also see some time at center behind starter Jonathan Goodwin.The 49ers have looked at a handful of veteran guards in free agency. The team visited with Leonard Davis, Jason Brown, Deuce Lutui and Geoff Schwartz but have yet to sign anyone. Lutui (Seattle) and Schwartz (Minnesota) have since signed with other teams."Honestly, in their scheme, guards are a dime a dozen," Bentley said. "A good young offensive tackle is such a premium. It would be a waste of ability. . . . But if he's one of the five best, yeah, get him on the field."Bentley said he believes the 49ers' best option would be to move right tackle Anthony Davis to guard. It's a switch that is not likely to happen after the 49ers traded up to select Davis with the No. 11 pick in the 2010 draft. The 49ers expect Davis, with his first offseason of work with coaches this year, to develop into one of the game's top right tackles."I believe they have to figure out who the best five are first," Bentley said. "Then, figure out the proper configuration. Alex is my guy. He still has to show he's ready to be an NFL starter. Potential is just unproven talent. There are four guys we all know are starters. They need one more. I believe Alex is a starter, but he's going to have to earn it."

Reid: National anthem protest accomplished goal of awareness

Reid: National anthem protest accomplished goal of awareness

SANTA CLARA – Safety Eric Reid and linebacker Eli Harold, who joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem last season, will not continue the protest this season.

Reid said Wednesday they achieved their goal of bringing attention to racial inequality in the United States.

“When we started doing that, our goal was to open up the floor to conversation. I believe we’ve achieved that goal,” Reid said. “So now we just want to move forward and just partner with people that’s trying to make a change.

“We accomplished that goal. People talked about it. I think we raised a lot of awareness about issues in this country. And now it’s time to move on to just affecting change.”

Reid and Harold are back with the 49ers, while Kaepernick remains a free agent. The 49ers have expressed no interest in retaining Kaepernick after opting to sign free-agent quarterback Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, instead.

“I stay in touch with him,” Reid said of Kaepernick. “I’m rooting for him. Obviously, he isn’t on a team, yet, but I’m rooting for him but hopefully he gets that call after the draft.

“It’s surprising. You see some of the other quarterbacks that have been signed around the league and why he hasn’t been, it’s just unfortunate.”

When asked if thought Kaepernick was paying the price for his protest, Reid answered, “I think so. It’s unfortunate, it’s sad. People want to shy away from him because of media, PR reasons.

“You’re doing something to better the world. I mean, the guy got a plane sent to Somalia to help with the famine there. He’s been doing things that if it were anybody else in a different situation without the anthem (protest), they’d be praising him and giving him awards for it.”

 

Coming off Achilles injury, Bowman returns to 49ers practice at full speed

Coming off Achilles injury, Bowman returns to 49ers practice at full speed

SANTA CLARA – NaVorro Bowman, who sustained a season-ending torn Achilles in Week 4 of the 2016 season, has been a full participant as the 49ers return to the practice field this week.

Bowman worked with the first team at middle linebacker Wednesday and appeared to move at top speed as the 49ers went through the second day of on-field workouts at a voluntary minicamp.

The 49ers, under new coach Kyle Shanahan, are allowed an extra voluntary minicamp as part of their offseason program. Bowman's return to the practice field was the highlight as the 49ers enter their third-week of the offseason program.

In other notes:

--The 49ers had tryouts with three unsigned veteran players: cornerback Steve Williams, and offensive linemen Tim Barnes and Kitt O’Brien.

--Wide receiver DeAndre Carter made the best catch of the day on a deep throw from quarterback Matt Barkley. Carter beat Williams on the reception.

--Defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who is a candidate to play the “Leo” position, was held out of competitive drills as he continues to recovery from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

--Ronald Blair lined up at the “Leo” position with the first-team defense and beat No. 2 right tackle Garry Gilliam for a sack in the “non-contract” drills. Aaron Lynch was at the “Leo” position with the second team.

--Tank Carradine lined up at the 5-technique, which is a position where the 49ers could target Stanford’s Solomon Thomas with the No. 2 overall pick.

--Kyle Juszczyk showed the versatility that prompted the 49ers to make him the highest-paid fullback in the league with several pass receptions during the 90-minute practice.

--Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson lined up at the cornerbacks with the first-team defense. Robinson made a leaping interception of a Brian Hoyer deep sideline pass against Rashad Ross during 7-on-7 drills.

--Hoyer and receiver Pierre Garçon teamed up for a 20-yard completion on the opening play of the 11-on-11 period.

--Wide receiver Bruce Ellington, who spent all of last season on injured reserve, did not practice due to a soft-tissue injury not related to his hamstring injury of a year ago.

--Offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah (soft tissue), tight end Je’Ron Hamm (leg), running back Raheem Mostert (soft tissue), linebacker Eli Harold (toe) and tight end Blake Bell (cut forehead) did not practice.