Coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman showed last season they are not afraid go unconventional with the 49ers offense. At times last season we saw tackle Joe Staley check-in as an eligible receiver and defensive linemen Isaac Sopoaga lining up in the backfield at a fullback. In the 49ers voluntary workouts this week, Harbaugh tried out defensive linemen Will Tukuafu at fullback and he caught a swing pass from Alex Smith in the redzone.
It’s possible the 49ers are trying to see we how they can use Tukuafu’s 6-foot-3, 293-pound frame to throw off defenses by lining him up at fullback. What’s more likely is Tukuafu could be officially switching to fullback to give the 49ers a backup to last season’s starter Bruce Miller.
Remember, Miller was converted from defensive end to fullback after being drafted by the 49ers last season. He did well blocking and also had nine receptions for 80 yards and one touchdown. Harbaugh and Roman have recognized Tukuafu’s versatility and he could serve as an adequate backup to Miller.
Tukuafu was signed as an undrafted rookie by the Seahawks in 2010 and joined the 49ers last season. You have probably not heard of Tukuafu because he suffered a wrist injury early in the season and was placed on injured reserve.
Jim Harbaugh on Tukuafu at fullback:
Will’s doing a great job athletically. I think the best will come when he puts on the pads, and that’s when it will get really exciting and fun. He’s a very physical, very smart player, we felt like it was something he would excel at.