Leonard Davis is a big-bodied offensive lineman with 12 years of experience who likes run blocking above all else. The 49ers are a run-oriented offense that was mostly complete but that perhaps needed someone to add competition at right guard.
Those two dynamics finally converged Thursday when the 49ers signed Davis, 33, to a one-year deal. While Davis -- listed at 6-6, 355 pounds -- said he was most comfortable at left guard, he noted he's had success on the right side, too, and that's where the 49ers are likely to play him.
Alex Boone has been the de facto right guard throughout the spring drills. But his previous experience has been as a tackle, and he had little competition for the role heading into training camp. Fourth-round pick Joe Looney likely will play that position, too, but he has not yet returned from a foot injury.
Before he could join the team, however, Davis had to pass a physical and show the 49ers that he was in good enough shape to take part in training camp. They told Davis to run a certain number 40-yard dashes, which was less than what the rest of the linemen were doing during the conditioning test. Davis did the required number, but felt so good he decided to keep going.
He said a foot injury that the 49ers were concerned about when he visited the team in March has been a non-issue since he was medically cleared in April or May. He said the 49ers were the only team he visited during the free-agency.
Davis is a long-time Cardinal and Cowboy who has been to three Pro Bowls. He did not play a snap last season with the Detroit Lions, but he said it wasn't because of a lack of desire. He said he expected to compete for a starting spot with the 49ers this summer.
"If I didn't want to compete, shoot, I wouldn't want to be here," he said. "I'd just hang it up and retire. But I'm a competitive person. And when I say I don't want to do something or do it anymore, I'll do it and do it with no regrets."
He said the fact that the 49ers are one of the few remaining teams who like to run the ball was attractive to him. "It's a good group of guys," he said. "I watched them play a lot last year. They're a tough group of guys. They play physical. There's no dancing around. It's just a bunch of hard-nose guys that love to play football."
And it doesn't hurt that San Francisco, which won 13 games last season, is one of the favorites for the Super Bowl.
Said Davis: "If you don't want to win the Super Bowl - if you don't have those expectations, you really shouldn't be playing."
-- Matt Barrows