2009 Roster Projections: Offensive Line

The next round of offseason training activities gets going today, so it's time for another round of 2009 roster projections.  Two weeks ago we discussed the defensive line and last week we discussed the running backs.  Today we move on to the offensive line.  The o-line has managed to be both a cause for concern (right tackle), and somewhat of a source of burgeoning pride (Staley, Heitmann, Rachal).  I actually think the offensive line could be a strength this year, but it's just going to take a few things going the right way.

Locks
Eric Heitmann, Joe Staley, Chilo Rachal, David Baas, Marvel Smith, Adam Snyder, Tony Wragge

No Chance
Jacob Bender, Matt Huners, Kyle Howard, Joe Toledo

Bubble
Cody Wallace, Barry Sims, Alex Boone

In reality I think Alex Boone is the only big time bubble guy. I decided to go slightly more conservative with the bubble list and include some folks who are likely on the roster, but don't have quite the lock of others.  Wallace saw no playing time as a rookie after being drafted in the fourth round fo the 2008 draft.  As strictly a center he has legit value as a backup for Eric Heitmann.  At the same time, I include Wragge as a lock because of his versatility.  He can play guard and center, which gives him tremendous value.  The same holds true for Adam Snyder who can play both guard and tackle.  When it comes to the offensive line, such super-subs cannot be valued highly enough.

In my mind, the real question surrounds Barry Sims and Alex Boone.  All things considered, if the team decided to keep Alex Boone on the 53-man roster, I really do think it would be at the expense of the aging veteran Sims.  Of course, the 49ers could try and slide Boone onto the practice squad.  While that'd be nice, a decent preseason showing might prevent that from becoming a reality.  Last year the 49ers saw some solid preseason work from OL Brian De La Puente, but he was signed by the Chiefs before the 49ers could place him on their practice squad.

The way I look at it, the biggest question becomes what will the 49ers do with Boone?  His draft stock was destroyed by his alcohol problems, but there is no denying his talent.  So, now I wonder just how the last spot on the 49ers offensive line shakes out.  Do you agree that it could come down to Boone versus Sims in the "Showdown at Santa Clara" battle royal?

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