Boone opens 49ers' camp as favorite for starting role

Boone opens 49ers' camp as favorite for starting role
July 6, 2012, 5:24 pm
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The 49ers saw an opportunity to upgrade at right guard. They did not offer contracts to incumbent Adam Snyder or his top backup from a year ago, Chilo Rachal. But, then, they did not spend a lot of time looking outside the organization for a new starter.
Then, the 49ers did not sign any veterans in free agency, and the only player added to the mix was a fourth-round draft pick who is recovering from a serious foot injury.Still, the 49ers believe they're in good position on the offensive line heading into training camp:Offensive line
When news broke this offseason that the 49ers planned to convert backup tackle Alex Boone to right guard, it was expected he would take part in a fierce competition for the starting job. Now, it's questionable whether there will even be a competition during training camp.Boone made a relatively seamless transition from his role as the 49ers' backup tackle on both sides. In the offseason, he showed plenty of promise as he adapted to his new assignments, stance and technique. If he can keep it going when the pads go on, Boone will undoubtedly be the starting right guard to open the season.The rest of the 49ers' offensive line appears set with incumbents: left tackle Joe Staley, left guard Mike Iupati, center Jonathan Goodwin and right tackle Anthony Davis.Early in the offseason, the 49ers took a look at veteran free-agent guards Leonard Davis, Jason Brown, Deuce Lutui and Geoff Schwartz. But the only interior lineman they have added is guard Joe Looney, a fourth-round draft pick whom the 49ers selected after trading out of the third round.Looney sustained a very serious Lisfranc foot fracture during practice before the Senior Bowl. Looney was seen rehabbing throughout the offseason, but he was not cleared to participate in practices. Coach Jim Harbaugh said he expects Looney to be available "at some point in training camp."The team's top interior backup figures to be second-year player Daniel Kilgore, who worked this offseason as the backup center and could be the long-term answer to eventually take over for Goodwin.The 49ers will suit up seven offensive linemen among the 46 players allowed to be in uniform for regular-season games. Kilgore appears to be in line to be the top backup. Kilgore could fill the role as the backup at center and both guard positions. If a replacement tackle were needed, Boone could take on that responsibility with Kilgore filling in at right guard.The 49ers figure to keep 10 or 11 offensive linemen around during the regular season (including practice squad). So there will be plenty of competition for those spots.Mike Person was on the 49ers' 53-man roster last season as a rookie, but he did not suit up for any games. He lined with the second team at left tackle during the offseason program. He also saw some action at guard.Rookie Jason Slowey, a sixth-round draft pick from Western Oregon, was the third-team center behind Goodwin and Kilgore. Chase Beeler, who underwent surgery to repair a broken right had, saw limited work during the offseason. He spent much of his rookie season on the 49ers' practice squad.Kenny Wiggins and Al Netter worked at right tackle. Garrett Chisolm and Derek Hall worked at guard on the second team, while David Gonzales lined up at guard with the third team.