The San Francisco 49ers announced on Friday that offensive guard Laken Tomlinson has reported to the team and passed his physical. The 49ers acquired Tomlinson from the Detroit Lions for a 2019 fifth round draft pick. He was in Buffalo with the Lions for their preseason finale, and proceeded to fly west to join the 49ers. This makes the trade official.
Kyle Shanahan discussed the trade after the game on Thursday. The team is going to place Joshua Garnett on injured reserve, but they are deciding on Friday whether it will be season-ending, or if he might return. Even if he can return, he would have to miss the first eight weeks of the season. It makes sense then to add some depth.
“We brought him in to help us out at guard. We know we’re going to have a decision here to make with [G] Josh [Garnett]. Which we’re going to do here over the weekend. We know it’s going to be one of those type of IRs. That’s something we got to sit down with Josh and talk more about, which I’d like to do more tomorrow; and the doctors. We know we wanted to get a guard in here that has played. We saw him coming out of college. He’s a guy who definitely has a lot of talent. Hasn’t reached it all yet in this league. But, want to give him a new start and we think he can come in here and help us.”
Tomlinson is quickly diving into the mix, learning the playbook and what is required of the offensive linemen. When asked if Tomlinson could be ready to start Week 1, Shanahan would not commit to anything.
“We’ll see. I think he landed here during the middle of that game. So I’m sure I’m not going to see him tonight. We’ll seen him tomorrow. We’ll start getting him with our O-line coach and our O-line assistant and they’ll start working. They’ll start trying to teach him our scheme. It’ll take until Saturday to get him out on the field with us and we’ll do a little bit Monday. Then we’ll jump into our normal Wednesday and have a normal week after that. It’s a lot to put on a guy to expect him to be ready week one. But we’re going to go at it as hard as we can. We’ll see where he’s at each week.”
Tomlinson has played left guard through his first two seasons in the NFL, but Shanahan said the plan is get him work at both guard positions.
“In this league you’ve really got to be both guards. We’re going to work him at both of the spots, but wherever he can find a starting positon, that’s where he’s going to try to go. But, what he’s played is both those guard spots and when you’re a backup, you’ve got to be able to play both of them.”
Zane Beadles and Brandon Fusco have been playing at the left and right guard positions, respectively. Neither has been particularly impressive thus far, but prior to the trade, both appeared settled into the starting guard spots. One is going to lose his job sooner rather than later. With cuts coming so soon after Tomlinson’s arrival, it’s hard to tell what the plan will be.