So I had a twitter debate today with a few other hardcore 49ers fans on this issue. I want to get some discussion going on the final O-Line roster spots as this is one of the last true battles going on right now. We know the starters would be the following, were it not for Eric Heitmann breaking his fibula:
Obviously now David Baas is going to play Center with Heitmann out another month or so. I think we can read the writing on the wall: Wragge becomes a lock, for now, to make the roster as he is the only viable backup at Center. He can also play Guard and has been getting reps there also this past week or so.
So that's seven O-Linemen, the same number the team dressed for games last year. Generally it's your starting five guys, then a G/C backup (Wragge) and a swing tackle backup (guy who can play RT or LT if need be). Last year that was Barry Sims when Staley was healthy. This year there is competition for that spot between Sims, Adam Snyder and Alex Boone.
After the jump, I make my case...
Barry Sims played awfully at RT in 2009. Strangely though, when called upon to fill-in for an injured Joe Staley at LT, he played exceptionally well. I think he's just one of those guys who's better suited for the speed rush on the left side of the line rather than being the mauler on the right side.
Adam Snyder played most of last season as the starting RT after Marvel Smith retired and Tony Pashos went down with injury. Snyder never seemed to get in a groove though and was arguably the worst O-Lineman on the team in 2009.
Snyder has also played some Guard and even has been getting reps there in camp this year. I'll have to re-watch the Indy game as well as pay close attention to him Sunday against Minnesota to see how effective he is at either position this year.
Alex Boone was one of the top rated Tackles in college football in 2009 before his drunken rampage brought up a lot of questions about his work ethic and character. He was fat and had slow footwork as a rookie last season and subsequently was signed to the practice squad.
This year he's gotten in great shape and has shown his greatly improved feet so far in camp and in the Indianapolis game last Sunday. He's worked on both sides but it's encouraging that he can handle the finese of the left side while being big and strong enough to play the right side. As a young player he has a lot of upside and could be a good player for many years to come.
The team wil probably roster two of these players for now, making the grand total nine players with Heitmann's injury. However once Heitmann returns to action I would expect them to trim back down to eight OL's in order to be adequately supplied at other positions.
So here we have a guy who is 35 years old in Sims, on a one year deal, who looked really bad at RT last year while playing great at LT. He's likely done after 2010, either with football or with the 49ers due to his age...at least it wouldn't be a surprise.
Then we have Snyder who knows both G and T positions but thus far hasn't really performed well at either (unless someone can point me to some tape, I'll gladly watch it). The team currently has two players who can play Guard as backups (Baas and Wragge, who both also can play Center). Snyder, though only 28, is also not a spring chicken and I would say is pretty near his ceiling as a player.
Then we have Alex Boone. Prototypical size, young, high upside, transformed body, and by all accounts thus far this off-season, performing quite well. I personally think Boone should be the backup swing Tackle this season as he likely could provide many years of service and I feel he has the potential to be a starting caliber Tackle if all goes well.
So I'm hoping for the following final OL roster spots come 53-man cut time:
Staley, Iupati, Baas, Rachal, Davis
Wragge, Snyder, Heitmann, Boone
Then cutting Snyder or Wragge, whichever is the worse Guard of the two, unless Snyder makes a quantum leap at Tackle.
Which backup Offensive Lineman would you want of these three?
Snyder (17 votes)
Boone (118 votes)
Sims (19 votes)
154 total votes