The San Francisco 49ers will be making significant changes to their offensive line in 2015, with Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis both departing. The departure of Iupati opened a hole at left guard, and it appears Alex Boone is being seriously considered for the position. Boone skipped OTAs, but upon returning for mandatory minicamp, he practiced at left guard all three days.
It sounds like left guard is where he will stay for now. Jim Tomsula confirmed on Friday that when the media arrives at practice on Saturday, they will see Boone playing left guard with the first team offense. Tomsula emphasized they don't have a specific depth chart in place for the position, but Boone would be there for now.
Earlier in the day, Joe Staley met with the media and was a bit coy in discussing the position:
Playing next to, whether it be Alex [Boone] or whoever we're going to go with, that's something we're going to get dialed in at training camp. That's what all these practices are for right now, is to really figure out communication and the camaraderie of the offensive line, and just move forward.
He was then asked if it would be difficult since it is not really set in stone who would be the left guard. His response:
I mean, we have a good idea, but I don't know what I'm supposed to say about that [laughter].
It would seem now he can in fact say Boone is playing next to him. The team could rotate guys around as training camp moves forward, but it seems likely that Boone will stick at left guard. Although it was not discussed, this could also mean he is Joe Staley's primary backup. Moving him to the left side makes a potential move to left tackle (if Staley ever misses snaps) that much easier. Previously they would move Boone from right guard to left tackle. Boone was more than capable moving from right to left, but this could potentially make it that much smoother a transition.
This also means Erik Pears likely opens camp as the first string right tackle. He was getting first team right guard work in OTAs, and then right tackle work in minicamp. Trenton Brown had first team right tackle work in OTAs, but was bumped down the depth chart for minicamp. It will be interesting to see what kind of competition he provides.
Jim Tomsula also indicated Marcus Martin will focus his time at guard for now. That means Joe Looney likely will open training camp as the starting center.