Jones: Why G Laken Tomlinson should start over G Zane Beadles?
After a week one defeat at the hands of Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, the San Francisco 49ers could be looking at some adjustments to a unit that appeared to be in need of it the most.
There weren’t many holdovers on the 49ers 53-man roster from the 2016 season. One of the men who was retained by the new power structure was OL Zane Beadles. Beadles was cut after the 2015 season by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The guard had signed a 5-year, $30 million contract with the Jaguars after flourishing with the Denver Broncos as a 2010 second round draft pick. He never lived up to his contract in Jacksonville as he was with the Broncos, hence his being cut two-years into his deal.
Former 49ers GM Trent Baalke in his infinite wisdom, signed Beadles to a three-year contract worth $11.75 million in March of 2016. It’s safe to say that the lineman has failed to live up to this contract either.
According to Pro Football Focus, Beadles’ grade in last weeks game was a mere 23.1, good for worst among all guards who played on Sunday. That grade also produced a sack, a hit, and 4-hurries against QB Brian Hoyer. Obviously, Beadles was not the only only issue along the offensive line against Carolina, but his performance was the most glaring. (Beadles also had his responsibility for a fifth sack on Hoyer negated due to a defensive holding penalty)
There is no reason barring injury to every other guard option on the line that Beadles should be playing this Sunday when the 49ers make the trek up north to Seattle. The Seahawks front seven is still one of the most formidable units in all of football. If the Panthers were capable of making Beadles look like a human turnstile, there is no telling what DE Michael Bennett, DE Cliff Avril, and newly acquired DT Sheldon Richardson would do to him.
Head coach, Kyle Shanahan confirmed yesterday that backup guard Laken Tomlinson will have the chance this week to compete for the starting guard spot that Beadles’ lifeless body filled last Sunday.
Tomlinson is a former first round draft pick (28th overall) by the Detroit Lions in 2015. While he never lived up to his billing coming out of Duke, where he was a four-year player at the right guard position, the 49ers are hoping that he can find new life in a new system.
He has has two-weeks in Shanahan’s system, a timeframe that should be ample enough to allow him to start the game in place of Beadles this week. If he can show more than what we saw in week one, Tomlinson could be a staple at the guard position for the rest of the season.