SANTA CLARA – Guard Brandon Thomas is likely to get a longer look for a starting spot on the 49ers offensive line at the time another player enters the picture.
The 49ers acquired offensive lineman Jordan Devey from the New England Patriots on Tuesday in a trade for tight end Asante Cleveland. Devey started three games at right guard and one game at left guard for the Patriots last season. He remained on the team’s 53-man roster through the Patriots' run toward a Super Bowl title.
“I don’t think it’ll change the involvement at all,” Thomas said on Tuesday. “It’s the NFL. The program, the organization felt like it was the right thing to do. I just feel like he’s coming in to try to work for a spot, just like everyone else.
“He’ll have a chance. And I don’t think they’ll look to him more than any other guy who’s been here. Everybody has a fighting chance.”
Center Joe Looney and right guard Marcus Martin have seen the most action with the 49ers' first-team offense through most of camp. That is likely to change this week, as the 49ers look at different combinations. Martin can play center, and Thomas is expected to see more action with the starters at right guard. Left tackle Joe Staley, left guard Alex Boone and right tackle Erik Pears appear set with their starting roles.
Thomas struggled through most of the 49ers’ offseason program after he sat out his rookie season due to a torn right ACL he sustained in a pre-draft workout with the New Orleans Saints.
The 49ers had Thomas rated as a second-round prospect and selected him in the third round of the draft. Thomas played well during his stint with the second-team offensive line on Saturday in the 49ers’ exhibition opener against the Houston Texans.
“It felt really good. It’s been a long time coming,” Thomas said. “I was excited to get back out there and show what I can actually do. It just felt good. The first hit kind of took me into the game and I said, ‘I can do this.’”
Coach Jim Tomsula intimated after the game that Thomas would be worked into the action with the first-team offensive line this week to see how he meshes with the rest of the line.
“I feel like everybody is competing for a starting job,” Thomas said. “This is the NFL. It’s training camp. Everybody wants to play and everybody wants to make the 53.”
Thomas said he worked all summer with 49ers director of human performance Mark Uyeyama and strength, conditioning and nutrition assistant Kurt Schmidt in order to put himself into a position to compete for a starting job.
“We knew it was going to be a process,” Thomas said. “Early on, you could tell -- everybody could tell -- I was playing straight-legged and I needed to work on change of direction. As time moved on, I felt like I got better. It’s still a long way to go, but I feel like I’ve gotten better in the process. You have to understand the process, and we all understand it.”