Joshua Garnett has been the San Francisco 49ers’ wild card since early into the 2017 season. After suffering a knee injury and hitting IR, the guard went through rigorous conditioning to change his physique and will now compete for one of the two guard spots in Kyle Shanahan’s system.
If he makes it through the entire season, it will already be progress.
Regardless of if he can repel injured reserve, Garnett has a make-it or break-it year in front of him. Many thought the 49ers trading up to get him was a bit of a reach, and his two seasons—one of struggling and one where he never saw a snap—haven’t helped place an argument for the pick. On the same token, Garnett played his rookie season in Chip Kelly’s system (which can be argued of it’s effectiveness) one season and was a victim of circumstance the other, so maybe he just hasn’t gotten a fair shake yet.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein put together a list of 2016 picks that he thinks will have a breakout year in 2018 and has Joshua Garnett listed as one of them. Here’s what he has to say about the pick:
Garnett is yet another 2016 first-round pick (28th overall selection) who has been slowed by injury. He suffered a knee injury last season in training camp and was placed on injured reserve, ending his 2017 campaign before it started. Garnett might not be a sexy pick for this list as an interior O-lineman, but I expect him to make the 49ers and their fans -- who are in desperate need of a quality guard -- very happy. He has dropped about 25 pounds, according to a video he posted to social media last month, and might be in the best shape of his life. Garnett proved to be a proficient zone-scheme blocker at Stanford and with his newfound weight loss and added quickness, he should win a starting job. He’ll fit right into Kyle Shanahan’s zone scheme, which will bolster the 49ers’ rushing attack and help take pressure off of Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garnett will be competing with Jonathan Cooper and Laken Tomlinson for one of two guard spots. Of the two, he may have the most momentum with his physique transformation. Now that he’s had a year of studying Kyle Shanahan’s playbook, maybe he can get it together.
Do you see Joshua Garnett breaking out in 2018?