The most interesting thing is the fact that they refer to him as tackle and guard. Rachal was a guard at USC, where he didn't allow a sack in 21 games. However, during June's organized training activities, Rachal spent his time at tackle. The team was worried about depth issues and wanted him to get some time there. Since then, the 49ers have signed Barry Sims to compete with Jonas Jennings for a starting spot, and at worst be the backup to both Jennings and Joe Staley.
So what does this mean? I honestly don't know. Jennings has his injury history and Barry Sims is no spring chicken. I'm curious to see where they line up Rachal in training camp. I'd prefer he just learn one position as well as possible, but if he can develop the flexibility to play both guard and tackle, that only increases his value.
Now that Sims is signed, I'd imagine Rachal will compete primarily with David Baas, who is recovering from a torn pectoral. Matt Barrows had some updated info on Baas:
The questions, then, are when will Baas be back? And will his absence allow Rachal, assuming he's at right guard, to usurp the position? I'm told that Baas is progressing nicely from his injury. He's out of his sling and he's been able to do some light work in the weight room. He is expected to go on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list when players have their physicals next week. He likely will miss all of the preseason but the team expects him back for the regular season. Baas has the added concern of losing upper body strength while he is kept from fully working out in the weight room.
Players never want to lose a starting spot due to injury, but the offensive line is certainly unique in the need for chemistry among the five guys there. Barrows makes a good point when he asks what happens if Rachal is starting at one of the guard positions and forms solid chemistry with the rest of the line. The negative would be forcing Baas back into the situation and having a discombobulated line trying to get back into rhythm. Of course, this all depends on Rachal stepping up and taking the bull by the horns. Let's hope that happens and he just slots right into a starting spot.