The 49ers would prefer not to have to count on a seventh-round draft pick to start at right tackle this season. But they may decide that’s their best bet.
After the retirement of Anthony Davis, rookie Trent Brown says his goal is to win the job to replace Davis and be the 49ers’ starting right tackle. Brown has had plenty of first-team reps at Organized Team Activities and thinks he fits in.
“Being with the first team, I definitely feel like I got to look like I’m part of the first team,” Brown said. “I feel like I have to match what they’re doing and their tempo. That’s been a positive thing for me.”
The problem is, Brown was only a part-time starter during his college career at Florida. He was drafted more because of his physical tools — he’s an enormous 6-foot-8 and 355 pounds — than because of anything he did on the field. Brown is a project, not a Week One starter.
At least, that was how he was viewed until Davis surprised the 49ers by announcing his retirement. Now they may decide that the next-best option is Brown.
“I like the way he’s working,” coach Jim Tomsula said of Brown. “But we have a lot of work to do. I’m not telling you Trent Brown is going to start at right tackle; don’t make any mistakes there. I’m not telling you he won’t, but he has a lot of work to do. He has potential. His development is really exciting.”
The 49ers need Brown to keep developing, in a hurry.