If you don’t know who Ben Garland is, you’re not alone. Turns out he’s got some great experience in Kyle Shanahan’s offense during the latter’s time with the Atlanta Falcons. At 31, Garland isn’t coming to save the guard position, but he knows the offense and can hold down the fort for eventual injuries.
Garland was seen taking snaps at center while Weston Richburg recovered from his knee surgery. This demonstrates the obvious fact that he isn’t good for just the guard positions but center as well. The versatility on the line and experience in Shanahan’s offense makes him an excellent depth piece. When you think of what the San Francisco 49ers have behind their starters on the offensive line, it makes the Garland addition all the more invaluable.
He’s not going to win any contests, but he’ll be good to hold things down. Given his career has not had many starts (seven total), he’s solidified as a backup. But as we all know, depth is crucial and he has a shot at filling that depth in 2019 for the interior.
Experience: Five seasons
Weight 308 lbs
He signed a one-year deal with a base salary of $805,000. If cut, the 49ers will eat $520,000 in dead money.
What to expect in 2019
Garland has experience in the Shanahan offense and since he’s taking snaps for Richburg it might go to show we can expect him to slot in when needed. Joshua Garnett has been nothing special and Eric Magnuson is Eric Magnuson. Garland may not be able to man the tackle spots, but with his experience in the offense and the interior, he could be coming in for any injuries suffered to the trio of Richburg, Laken Tomlinson, and Mike Person.
Don’t be expecting starter quality play (and hope he doesn’t see the field) but you won’t be holding your breath every snap either.
Odds of making the roster:
Given that the bodies behind Laken Tomlinson and Mike Person are nothing consistent, Garland has a shot to be a depth piece to the 49ers offensive line. He’s not a sexy signing but the 49ers know what they are getting out of him from the get-go. Given that he knows Shanahan’s offense, he could hold down the fort. He’s been taking first-team snaps at center as well, which may be indicative of where he is on the depth chart. He’s on a strong bubble to make the roster. He’s decent depth with the ability to play all three interior spots.