49ers reason No. 2: Kyle Shanahan values tackles and centers much more than guards
Sure, head coach Kyle Shanahan would never openly come out and say it. But it’s not a secret he puts a much higher priority on offensive tackles and centers than he does guards.
Although the Niners’ selection of then-rookie guard Aaron Banks in Round 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft kind of puts a dent into that argument.
More on Banks in a moment, but San Francisco has invested far more in its tackle and center play under Shanahan’s tenure than at guard. Now-retired center Weston Richburg, current center Alex Mack, All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams and even first-round draftee right tackle Mike McGlinchey were all big-ticket acquisitions when those deals were made.
Laken Tomlinson was, too, although he was viewed as much more as a castoff by the Detroit Lions back in 2017.
Shanahan prioritizes veteran centers over rookies and young players, and the fact he wanted to make that high-profile switch to McGlinchey from incumbent right tackle Trent Brown during the 2018 NFL Draft reveals a lot, too.
Putting things bluntly, Shanahan might not value Tomlinson, or any guard for that matter, anywhere close to what he sees as a need at tackle or center.