The San Francisco 49ers selected offensive lineman Brandon Thomas in the third round of this past May's NFL Draft. Thomas had suffered a torn ACL during a pre-draft workout for the New Orleans Saints. Thomas had been projected among the better offensive linemen in the draft, but he slipped down to the third round following the injury. The 49ers drafted him, with the intention of stashing him for 2015.
Matt Maiocco had a chance to catch up with Thomas and discuss his rehab progress. It was a basic ACL tear, and it seems like things are moving along at a good pace. The article is worth a read to see what Thomas has to say.
I bring it up because I figured it was a good excuse to discuss the 49ers offensive line heading into 2015. Mike Iupati is a free agent after this season, and the general belief is that there will be a lot of money available for him in free agency. If that is indeed the case, it seems logical to assume the 49ers will not get into a bidding war next March for his services.
If Iupati departs, Thomas seems like the logical replacement for him. There is no guarantee what his knee will be like when he returns, but with a fairly "basic" ACL injury, the hope is that he can return in good shape. If that is the case, he could very well secure that left guard role.
The 49ers offensive line has struggled, and we have seen Marcus Martin emerge as the starting center in place of an injured Daniel Kilgore's. With all that, and whatever else you want to consider, how do you see the offensive line depth chart shaking out when the 49ers head into Week 1 of the 2015 season?
Here is one possible look:
LT - Joe Staley, Jonathan Martin
LG - Brandon Thomas, Joe Looney
C - Marcus Martin, Daniel Kilgore
RG - Alex Boone, Joe Looney
RT - Anthony Davis, Jonathan Martin
The 49ers have plenty of 2015 draft picks in hand, so it is entirely possible they add somebody else to the mix. Joe Looney is signed for one more year, so he provides some insurance and competition at the guard positions. Jonathan Martin is also signed for another year, and I could see him working in a swing tackle role.
Will the team invest some draft capital in the offensive line, or do they roll with this group? I could see them investing in another interior lineman to compete with Looney and Kilgore, and potentially serve as a future option if Boone departs. But do you expect further developments?