The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up minicamp and are now five weeks away from the start of training camp. The 90-man roster is just about set, although a transaction here or there would not be entirely shocking. Shortly after the draft we put together a complete roster bubble watch, and now it’s time to re-visit it. The offseason workout program did not lock in most roster spots, but it might give us some hints here and there.
Over the next two weeks, we’re going to take a look at each position, and what the bubble watch looks like. As we’ve done for a while now, the bubble watch breaks down to lock, strong bubble, weak bubble, and longshot. For some positions, we’ll have multiple players listed at strong bubble, even though not all are likely to make the roster. But the idea is that they both stand a good shot, even if it is just one of them. Additionally, this does not reflect whether or not a player will be traded. Trades can and probably will happen during training camp, but the positioning on this focuses on whether or not they’d be cut.
Today, we’ll take a look at the offensive guards.
Lock: Laken Tomlinson
Strong Bubble: Joshua Garnett, Erik Magnuson, Jonathan Cooper, Mike Person
Weak Bubble: None
Longshot: Najee Toran
The San Francisco 49ers took care of some business on Friday, inking Laken Tomlinson to a three-year contract extension. The team had declined his fifth year option in early May, but John Lynch said the team was still looking at ways to retain him. Well, question answered.
In my post-draft bubble watch, I had no guards listed as locks, instead placing all the starting guard competitors as strong bubble. The Tomlinson signing clears up one of the two starting spots. He was starting at left guard during OTAs and minicamp, and it seems he will settle in there.
Meanwhile, Joshua Garnett and Mike Person were splitting snaps at right guard. Jonathan Cooper is finishing up rehab of a torn MCL and will be ready to go for training camp. Person is a versatile option who can play guard and center, and when asked about him, Kyle Shanahan focused on that part of his game. When Cooper returns at training camp, it would seem like he would jump into the competition primarily against Garnett. We’ll find out for sure in five weeks, but that’s my guess.
The loser of the Cooper-Garnett (and maybe Person) competition will be in a tough position. Person can play center along with guard, while Erik Magnuson can also play tackle. If Cooper or Garnett loses the right guard competition, it seems a decent bet they get cut.
I’ve included Erik Magnuson on this list, and will include him at tackle, while Person will also be listed with the centers. Normally I’d list all the offensive linemen together for the bubble watch, but the Tomlinson signing made me want to split out each of the positions. We can look at them in whole later if needed.
But for now, my guess is Cooper and Garnett will be the primary competitors for the right guard position, and the loser faces a tough situation.