SANTA CLARA – Laken Tomlinson spent his first regular-season Sunday with the 49ers as a spectator on the sideline.
The newly acquired guard, a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in 2015, was among the 49ers’ seven inactive players for the season opener on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
But Tomlinson is likely to have a significant role this weekend when the 49ers’ offensive line faces its most daunting task of any season – a trip to the Pacific Northwest to face the Seattle Seahawks.
"I’m just out there doing everything coach asks me to do trying to do as much as I can with as much as they give me," said Tomlinson, whom the 49ers acquired on Aug. 31 from Detroit for a 2019 fifth-round draft pick.
Tomlinson could replace veteran Zane Beadles, who has struggled at left guard throughout training camp. Beadles, 30, had a rough opener against the Panthers, surrendering a game-turning sack-fumble in the first quarter.
Left tackle Joe Staley said Tomlinson has a frame (6 foot 3, 312 pounds) that reminds him of Mike Iupati. Tomlinson seems to be making quick strides to learn a new scheme.
"He’s come in very eager to learn and to pick up all that stuff," Staley said. “He’s not overwhelmed by anything. Coming from another team, he had excuses he could make, ‘Oh, I wasn’t here in training camp.’ He’s come here and is gung ho about picking up everything that he can.”
Said Tomlinson, “The scheme is a lot to learn, but I can handle it. I’m going out there and trying my best to exhibit that on the practice field.”