The San Francisco 49ers recently met last week with Miami offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, as noted by Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. It's not the newest news or anything along those lines, but I did think it was significant enough to return to and talk about.
First, we'll talk about Henderson himself. As Maiocco notes, Henderson is a player with character concerns, but one who certainly fits what the 49ers are interested in doing along the offensive line. He's a big boy at 6'7, 331 pounds, and that's exactly what the 49ers like in an offensive lineman. He's not someone who can come in and start right away or anything, but he possesses all the tools of someone who can play the left or right tackle positions.
In other words, he'd make a pretty darn good swing tackle, or at least, he seems like he would. But he was suspended three times during his college career for violating team rules, and it sounds like those suspensions were related to marijuana use. Many of you should rightly see "marijuana" and think "big deal," but this is more a case of judgment than a case of the seriousness of the violation.
Whether or not it should be allowed is inconsequential when it's clear that it's disallowed. If SB Nation required that I not eat Lucky Charms within two weeks of my shifts on the newsdesk, then I'd switch to Captain Crunch and that'd be the end of it. It's a question of decision-making and judgment -- that's why it's a big deal.
So that's where Henderson is coming from. I happen to think highly of what I've seen of him, but aside from the specifics of the player, I think it's interesting that the 49ers are spending their limited pre-draft visits on an offensive tackle. As you know, offensive tackle is about the most set position on the 49ers' roster. Joe Staley and Anthony Davis are the starters for a looooong time.
But Alex Boone shouldn't be the swing tackle any longer. Sure, he's better than anybody the 49ers can get for the job, but it's not worth switching up the whole line when one player gets hurt. Many believe that Jonathan Martin may be able to be the swing tackle. I think Martin has a lot of potential, and could even fill in at guard -- potentially taking over on the left side if he pans out -- if need be.
But Martin is far from a home run. He's far from a guarantee despite his high draft status and his perceived ceiling. And I think it's an excellent spot of due diligence for the 49ers to be spending time looking at potential swing tackle options in this upcoming draft, because I think finding a long-term solution behind Staley and Davis should be one of the bigger priorities for stability along the line.