When the 49ers let David Baas walk in free-agency last off-season it left quite a void at the center position. Eric Heitmann, a great center for many years and often underrated, had ongoing neck issues and hasn't been signed since...unlikely to play again.
When they scooped-up Jonathan Goodwin from the then-Champion New Orleans Saints, we figured our problems were all over. Adam Snyder got some reps at the position as well and we knew his versatility on the offensive line was great. The team also had undrafted free-agent Chase Beeler of Harbaugh's former Stanford Cardinal.
Another year gone by and the team again parted ways with a guy who could play center in Snyder. Beeler had needed to put on weight and spent the entire 2011 season on the practice squad. Everyone figured that Daniel Kilgore would be the starting right-guard or at least compete for the spot...but it seems that Alex Boone has showed well there, leaving Kilgore to take reps at center.
More after the jump.
Kilgore did play the position in high school, and we all saw David Baas quietly become a pretty good center after years in the NFL as solely a guard. He certainly doesn't have Baas' experience, but he's not vying for the starting spot just yet anyway.
It was noted by the aforementioned Goodwin himself that Kilgore has stood-out most to him on the practice field thus-far, a good omen if he is in fact being groomed to back up the former.
The 49ers also invested a draft-pick in Jason Slowey, expressing the desire to work him out at center this off-season, too. He seems to have a great attitude and has been around the facility quite a bit, even interacting a lot with his new teammates on twitter.
It's a crowded roster already and making cuts won't be easy. One thing is for sure: someone is going to pick up some good depth players when that time does come. My bet is on Seattle having a shuttle parked outside of 49ers HQ like they usually do...