SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ coaching staff has decided on a new position for Alex Boone, who started the past three seasons at right guard.
Boone will be the 49ers’ starter at left guard this season, coach Jim Tomsula disclosed on Friday. Boone takes the spot vacated with Mike Iupati’s free-agent departure to the Arizona Cardinals.
Boone’s versatility left the 49ers with some options, including moving him to right tackle to replace Anthony Davis, who announced his retirement in June. The 49ers are shifting Boone to left guard to make for an easier transition if he's ever needed to step in for left tackle Joe Staley during the regular season.
Boone in the past as served as the team's backup tackle on both sides during the regular season when teams typically suit up only seven offensive linemen as part of their 46-man game day roster.
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“You get to game day, and you’re talking about how many offensive linemen you have up? So how can we create some depth there?” Tomsula said. “Now when he’s playing the right guard, the stance is the opposite. (If) you put him at left guard, you’ve got that stance. Quite simply, that’s the answer.”
Erik Pears appears to head into training camp as the top option at right tackle, where he will likely compete against rookie Trent Brown. Marcus Martin and Joe Looney will work at center while Daniel Kilgore remains out of action while he rehabilitates from a fractured lower leg sustained last season.
Martin and Pears could also get work at right guard, along with Brandon Thomas.