Mike Person has departed after two years as the 49ers’ starting right guard, and there is no clear favorite to replace him.
Tom Compton, an eight-year NFL veteran who’s started for the Jets, Vikings, Bears and in Washington – while also playing for 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta and Washington – was signed this offseason, and may have an edge with his experience.
But also in the mix will be second-year man Daniel Brunskill and rookie Colton McKivitz, a fifth-round pick out of West Virginia.
Despite Compton’s experience, however, Brunskill impressed teammates and coaches as a rookie in 2019. He played in 14 regular-season games and all three postseason games and started seven at tackle. Though tackle has been his primary position, Brunskill also can play guard and will be given a shot at replacing Person in the starting lineup.
Brunskill is eager to make the most of his opportunity. He started two games in 2019 at right guard, four at right tackle and one at left tackle in his first season with the 49ers.
“I’ve definitely taken a good amount of reps at right guard when I’m practicing by myself,” Brunskill said in a video chat with reporters this week. “But mainly, I’m just ready to be starting at any position and ready to go anywhere and still focusing on all five positions. But I definitely take a few more reps at right guard and then also trying to focus on what I can do to be better at that position. And then what I can do to be better at all five positions as a whole.”
Brunskill was an undrafted player out of San Diego State who played in the Alliance of American Football before it folded. He credits his experience in the AAF for giving him the experience and confidence to succeed with the 49ers.
Brunskill told Kyle Posey of SB Nation that he’s working hard on conditioning and his understanding of Shanahan’s system.
“When you understand the playbook more and understand what Kyle wants you to do and what the offensive line coaches are asking you to do, you can just get better at what you do on each play to make the best block and to make the block work for how the play is designed to work,” said Brunskill.
“So, focusing on that, and then also technique. I think, no matter where you are in the game, technique can always be better and improved, so focusing a lot on that, especially in some of the pass (protection) things.”
For now, it’s all he can do. Once the team is allowed to come back to start its offseason program, then Brunskill’s battle to win the right guard position will begin.