49ers welcome back Adam Snyder
Adam Snyder played all five positions on the offensive line in his seven seasons with the 49ers. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Adam Snyder's job during his seven seasons with the 49ers was to play wherever he was needed.
The odyssey took him to all five positions on the offensive line. He started at the tackle and guard positions on both sides of the line. And when the 49ers needed a center during and after the lockout of 2011, he learned that position, too.
Snyder opened the season as a starter only twice in his 49ers career. But he ended up playing extensively -- 69 starts -- due to injuries and ineffective play at a time when the 49ers' offensive line was severely lacking. Snyder will get an opportunity during the offseason program and training camp to resume his former role with his old club.
Snyder, 31, signed a two-year contract with the 49ers on Monday. The 49ers' offensive line has never been stronger. The 49ers brought him back to see if he can provide depth behind the starters.
The 49ers lacked a "swing tackle" last season. Right guard Alex Boone served that role. If someone was needed to replace right tackle Anthony Davis or left tackle Joe Staley for any period of time, Boone would bump out to tackle and backup guard Daniel Kilgore would replace Boone.
Snyder has the ability to fill in at either tackle position. The 49ers drafted Carter Bykowski of Iowa State to see if he can handle that role. Snyder and Bykowski will compete.
Playing time at the three positions on the interior of the line would appear to be more difficult. Kilgore and promising second-year player Joe Looney are currently behind center Jonathan Goodwin and guards Boone and Mike Iupati.
But it's that versatility that has proved to be Snyder's strength through the years. He is a candidate for every backup position on the line.
Here's a look at how Snyder has bounced around in his career:
2005: A third-round draft pick from Oregon, Snyder started seven games at left tackle as a rookie in place of injured Jonas Jennings and ineffective Anthony Clement. Snyder also had one start at right guard in place of Eric Heitmann.
2006: When Jennings was unavailable due to an ankle injury, Snyder stepped in and made six starts at left tackle. You'll notice a trend with Jennings injuries during Snyder's first four seasons.
2007: Again, while Jennings was out with a shoulder injury, Snyder played left tackle. He started 11 games.
2008: Snyder opened the season as a starter at left guard. He started seven games, then switched to right tackle for the final six games after injuries to Jennings and Barry Sims.
2009: This was the only time Snyder started and played the entire season in one position. He lined up for all 16 games at right tackle.
2010: With first-round draft pick Anthony Davis taking over at right tackle, Snyder was essentially the sixth man on the offensive line. He started two games at right guard in place of Chilo Rachal.
2011: He lined up at center during the "Camp Alex" workouts at San Jose Stage. And he remained at center in training camp to help the team compensate for the departure of David Baas to the New York Giants. The 49ers signed veteran center Jonathan Goodwin during camp, and Goodwin won the job. Snyder shared time at right guard with Rachal to open the season. Rachal was benched at halftime of a Week 3 game at Cincinnati, and Snyder started every game the remainder of the season.
2012: Snyder signed a five-year, $17.5 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason. The 49ers moved Boone to right guard. Boone was named as a Pro Bowl alternate, while Snyder struggled with the Cardinals. Snyder was released on April 29, and re-signed with the 49ers on Monday.