49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

April 11, 2012
Davis a better fit at guard than Boone

It's unlikely to happen, but I think LeCharles Bentley is right when he says that the 49ers would have more success moving Anthony Davis from tackle to guard than they would moving Alex Boone from tackle to guard. Bentley, who works with Boone in the offseason, said as much to CSN Bay Area in a story about how Boone could compete at right guard during the offseason.

boone2.jpg

Davis is tall at 6-5, but Boone is three inches taller. Furthermore, he's long-legged and has a narrow base. When he was coming out in the 2009 draft, there were questions about whether he was too top heavy to play tackle, which, along with his well-documented off-field issues, caused him to go undrafted. While Boone has answered questions about whether he has the bend and balance to play tackle, guard, a position in which players must root out opponents and be square to the ground, does not seem to be a good fit.

"Alex can play guard if it's the best thing for the team, but physically it's not the ideal position for him," Bentley told CSN.

Davis, on the other hand, appears to have the ideal body for a guard. In fact, he's similar in physique to the top guard in the league, Carl Nicks, who played offensive tackle in college. Nicks is listed as 6-5, 343. Davis is listed at 6-5, 323.

The 49ers traded up two slots to nab Davis in the 2010 draft, and he improved last year after an up and down rookie season. The 49ers love Davis' potential at right tackle, he's about to have his first full offseason under Jim Harbaugh's coaching staff, and he is unlikely to be moved. Still, it would seem that an offensive line in which Boone plays right tackle and Davis plays right guard is better than one where they are switched.

One more point: It used to be that offensive tackle was a much more glamorous - and more lucrative -- position than guard. That's still the case, but the gap is getting smaller. Guards and interior linemen - from Mike Iupati to the Pounceys to David DeCastro - are increasingly being taken earlier in drafts. Furthermore, two free-agent guards signed big-money contracts this year. Ben Grubbs signed a five-year deal for $36 million. Nicks signed a five-year deal for $47.5 million. That is, a top-flight guard can make more money than a decent tackle.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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