Among all the positional units in this year's bubble watch, the offensive line is one of the more convoluted. The starting lineup is likely more or less set, even with Alex Boone only recently starting to learn the right guard position. The 49ers let Chilo Rachal and Adam Snyder walk this offseason and decided to insert Alex Boone into the starting lineup through OTAs.
Although right guard is technically be a position battle, Alex Boone would seem to be the clear leader entering training camp. If he struggles, Daniel Kilgore would be the next man up, but for now, the team seems fairly confident in Boone. After all, Kilgore spent OTAs getting all sorts of work in at center, meaning he will likely operate as the primary backup interior lineman.
This is where it gets interesting. As it currently projects, if either Anthony Davis or Joe Staley gets injured, Alex Boone would seem to shift out to offensive tackle, and Daniel Kilgore moves in at right guard. At the same time, the team does have Mike Person competing for time at backup offensive tackle. If he shows enough this preseason, it is possible Person could develop into a swing offensive tackle role at some point.
Then you've got the two rookies. The 49ers drafted guard Joe Looney in the fourth round and offensive lineman Jason Slowey in the sixth round. Looney is a guy who slipped in the draft because of the Lisfranc injury he suffered at the Senior Bowl. That injury is keeping him out of the start of training camp as he is on the Non-Football Injury List. There is hope he will be back in the first couple weeks of camp, but given the Lisfranc injury, I'll believe it when I see it.
In Jason Slowey, the 49ers have a guy who has some skills, but has plenty of work to do as he makes the biggest leap of any of the 49ers draft picks. Coming out of Western Oregon requires a sizable step up in the competition level. I listed him as strong bubble in our first bubble watch, but in reality I can't say where he belongs with significant certainty. Right now it would seem like he is battling Chase Beeler for the ninth offensive line spot. The 49ers went with nine offensive linemen last year, and at this point, nine would seem to make sense once again.
Where do you see Mike Person, Jason Slowey and/or Chase Beeler factoring into the offensive line rotation? All three retain practice squad eligibility, and given their late round status, slipping through waivers isn't necessarily the most difficult thing in the world. Thoughts?
Lock: Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Daniel Kilgore
Strong Bubble: OT Mike Person, OG Joe Looney, OL Jason Slowey
Weak Bubble: C Chase Beeler
Longshot: OT Derek Hall, OT Kenny Wiggins, OG Garrett Chisolm, OG Al Netter, OG David Gonzales