Five 49ers to watch: 5. Mike Person

August 18, 2012, 4:20 pm
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(This is the first part in a series that spotlights five 49ers players to watch in the team's exhibition game Saturday, 5 p.m., at the Houston Texans.)The 49ers' top backup tackle from a year ago is no longer a tackle. Alex Boone has moved to right guard, where he is well on his way to solidifying his spot as a starter.Other than Boone, the 49ers do not have any proven depth at the tackle spots. Mike Person, a seventh-round draft pick last year, has a chance to nail down that role and suit up for games this season. Although he spent all 16 games on the 49ers' 53-man roster as a rookie, Person was one of the team's seven inactive players for every game.
"I have to prove it," Person said. "I have to prove that I'm that fit for that spot."Person played 42 snaps at left tackle behind starter Joe Staley in last week's exhibition opener. He played another eight snaps at left guard. And he figures to see plenty of action Saturday night in the 49ers' exhibition game against the Houston Texans, too."He's a young guy that had his first offseason of physical development, which is so important for a lineman especially," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "He's coming along well and I expect really good things from Mike the rest of this preseason. This is his second year in it, so he's no stranger to our system. He's not learning so much now what to do, it's how to do it."Person generally played well last week against the Minnesota Vikings. His one noticeable blemish came when he surrendered a pressure against defensive lineman Nick Reed, who got a hand on quarterback Scott Tolzien's arm to force an interception."I definitely could've, should've played better," Person said.Ideally, the 49ers would like to keep Boone at guard even if a situation arises where they need to replace a tackle. But in order for that to happen, Person has to come on strong and prove he is the better option.