SANTA CLARA The 49ers only have a handful of roster openings as they get ready for their first full-squad offseason practice sessions next week.
Kenny Wiggins is gunning for one of them.
The team could stand to add a backup offensive tackle behind starters Joe Staley and Anthony Davis, a role that went unfilled last season. The 6-foot-6, 314-pound Wiggins, who is from Elk Grove, spent 2012 on San Francisco's practice squad, which he feels gives him a leg up on the young competition this year.
"Huge advantage," he said. "Just sitting in the meeting room, I'm already a mile ahead of everybody. I wouldn't say I know the offense like the back of my hand or anything. But now is the time where I can really focus on the details and make sure I have no mistakes, no anything, and I can play fast."
Wiggins was one of six veterans allowed to take part in San Francisco's rookie minicamp that ended Sunday. He lined up at right tackle while seventh-round pick Carter Bykowski played left tackle.
Two more players figure into the mix this offseason.
The 49ers signed 6-9 rookie Luke Marquardt after the draft. Marquardt, who played at Azusa Pacific, is recovering from a broken right foot and did not take part in the recent minicamp. The team also signed former 49er Adam Snyder, who was released by Arizona last month. Snyder most recently played guard for the 49ers but has started 42 games at tackle over his career.
Wiggins, meanwhile, said he took two weeks off after the Super Bowl and has been at the team's practice facility since. The 49ers currently are in the "football school" portion of their offseason program, and Wiggins has lined up at left tackle during those sessions.
On Friday, he was tapped by strength and conditioning coaches to show the incoming rookies how to perform the new box-jump drill, which involves leaping onto a box-like platform, and in one fluid motion, springing onto a large mat.
Wiggins and the rest of the veterans attending football school have been working on the drill for about two weeks. Wiggins said it improves a lineman's explosion and, for him at least, it's a way to show off athleticism.
He was one of the best performers at the rookie minicamp. But who stands out among the veterans?
"Probably me," he said. "I always joke around and say I've got the best hops of all the big guys on the team because I pretty much do."