San Francisco 49ers: Projecting Each Prospect’s Role in 2016
By Jerod Brown
Joshua Garnett-Offensive Guard
First Round Selection-No. 28 Overall
Joshua Garnett is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to alleviating the issues of 2015. The 49ers trotted out a shaky-at-best offensive line on Sundays and seemed to be in disbelief when right guard Jordan Devey and right tackle Erik Pears failed to block.
The offensive line was routinely beaten and seemed to be lacking a serious sense of urgency and attitude. The emergence of Andrew Tiller late in the year provided slight benefits, but it was clear that the 49ers needed an upgrade badly.
So, Trent Baalke moves up to have two selections in the first round and he makes what was one of the best selections of the entire weekend.
Garnett isn’t just a plug-and-play guard for the 49ers. He’s a plug-and-watch-everyone-else-do-better kind of player. Left tackle Joe Staley can mentor Garnett in the nuances of offensive line play, but in terms of sheer intelligence and athleticism, Garnett brings plenty of that on his own.
Garnett will likely be gifted a starting spot–because you don’t trade up to select a guard in the first round if you don’t plan on starting him–but he could beat out anybody not named Joe Staley for any other position on the offensive line. He isn’t necessarily built for tackle, but he’s good enough that I’m sure he’d make it work.
Andrew Tiller and Zane Beadles will have to compete for the other guard spot. At least one, if not all three, of Marcus Martin, Brandon Thomas and Jordan Devey are on their way out before the season begins.
Of all the picks over the weekend, this one comes with the least doubt. Garnett is going to start Week 1 and, barring injury, he’ll do just fine for the entire season. Don’t be surprised if he is named to the Pro Bowl in his first season. He’s that dominant.
This play never gets old.
Next: Will Redmond