SANTA CLARA – What was considered inevitable now appears closer to reality.
When the 49ers traded into the end of the first round to select Stanford guard Joshua Garnett, it seemed to be only a matter of time before he found his way into the starting lineup.
Garnett is still not there, officially, but he said he has been splitting the first-team snaps for the first time since arriving with the 49ers. Veteran Zane Beadles, who signed a three-year, $9.75 million contract with the 49ers in the offseason, had taken all of the first-team repetitions up to this point. Beadles went out with the first team at the beginning of practice Tuesday, but Garnett replaced him shortly thereafter.
Garnett said he is focusing on winning the trust of the coaching staff with being a consistent performer.
“You can’t be one of those guys who does something great one game or one play and the next play or the next game doesn’t rise to the next level,” Garnett said. “You have to be steady and improve the whole time. I feel like if I can build that consistency where the coaches can trust me to put me in any situation, that’ll be what helps out the most.”
The 49ers’ offensive line remains unsettled with the team’s third exhibition game approaching on Friday at Levi’s Stadium against the Green Bay Packers. Anthony Davis, who has been in competition at right tackle with Trent Brown, moved to right guard this week. He is competing against Andrew Tiller at that position.
Garnett began camp at right guard, but has switched over to left guard. Meanwhile, Beadles is beginning to take snaps at center, likely as a way to compete with Marcus Martin to be the backup to presumptive starter Daniel Kilgore.
General manager Trent Baalke last week said just because the 49ers paid the price to trade up to select Garnett, it does not mean he is assured a starting lineup.
"He’s a talented player," Baalke said. "That’s why we moved up in the first round to get him. We feel he is a starter in the National Football League. How soon he asserts himself, time will tell.”
With all the moving around, the 49ers have not established continuity on the offensive line. But Garnett said the unit spends a lot of time together to build a strong working relationship with all the combinations.
“It’s real important to build chemistry,” Garnett said. “That’s what we do in the offensive line room all the time. Sitting next to each other, talking. Whenever something happens on film, just asking Joe (Staley), asking Anthony, asking Zane what they saw and what they would’ve done differently. Just picking their brains. I think that’s really helped us build a rapport, not only on the field but off the field, which is really important for building that chemistry.”