Before the San Francisco 49ers were beset on all sides by injury, they made a conscious decision to start Zane Beadles at left guard. The move was a poor one, and I feel bad for Brian Hoyer that he had to start games behind Beadles. The 49ers went on to trade for Detroit Lions first-round pick Laken Tomlinson.
Tomlinson was an interesting player coming to San Francisco. Originally expected to be an offensive tackle, Tomlinson floundered there and the 49ers had designs of moving him to left guard. It took a week, but they replaced Beadles with Tomlinson and that’s where he’s been since then.
The move was made before the injuries and before it was clear just how bad the overall offensive line would be. Tomlinson has had plenty of time to settle in and it’s clear to me, doing the sack breakdowns week by week, that Tomlinson is not the answer at left guard. Or right guard. Or anywhere else.
Tomlinson is a bust of a draft pick, but I don’t even see that much that’s salvageable as a starter. He is consistently failing to get any push off the line in the running game, and is nearly constantly moving backwards in the passing game. Whereas Brandon Fusco has showed some real promise at right guard and looked great against the Arizona Cardinals, Tomlinson allowed three sacks, two hits and a handful of hurries on top of that.
On the season, Tomlinson has three sacks, four hits and 21 hurries allowed, per Pro Football Focus. They have him graded at 43.7, 50th of 80 players at the position. His pass block rating (40.4) is 62nd out of 79 and his run block rating (43.7) is 40 out of 78.
Daniel Kilgore has earned a lot of flack in the comments here at Niners Nation, and we can’t truly say that any of the three interior linemen are being put in a great position to succeed ... but Tomlinson is the weaker link of the three, from what I can see. Kilgore gets beaten one on one enough that he’s a problem, but Tomlinson is almost eternally moving backwards.
I can almost see a decent line that includes Kilgore and an improved left guard. I don’t see a decent line featuring Tomlinson.