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Alex Boone: What Does The Future Hold?

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News put together a great article today about how 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone has worked to overcome his alcohol demons over the past couple years. Boone dealt with numerous well-documented issues during his college career and it cost him a chance at being drafted.

The 49ers signed Boone as an undrafted free agent and he was taken the slow and measured process of climbing the ranks of the 49ers roster. He spent his first season on the practice squad. He spent his second season on the 53-man roster but was inactive for all but one game. This season, he has been active every game and utilized as an extra blocker in a variety of short yardage situations.

The question on the football field is what will be the next step for Alex Boone? He is an exclusive rights free agent after the season, which means he is not allowed to negotiate with any other team. So, he is a free agent only in the sense that he gets a new contract.

How do you see Alex Boone developing with the 49ers, or is he looking at the Barry Sims utility tackle role for the foreseeable future? Anthony Davis has had his ups and downs but has had some strong games recently. On the other side, Joe Staley is locked in for the long term. The offensive line has had its ups and downs this season, but also seems to be having more strong games recently. Is there room for Boone in the starting lineup at some point in the future?