Adding competition to what has been an offseason trouble spot, the 49ers on Thursday traded for Lions guard Laken Tomlinson, a former first-round draft pick for Detroit.
According to the NFL Network, the 49ers will send a 2019 fifth-round pick to Detroit for Tomlinson, 25, who started 24 games the last two seasons but who had fallen out of favor this year. Martin Mayhew, the 49ers senior personnel executive who has been influencial to John Lynch in Lynch’s first year as general manager, was the Lions general manager when Detroit drafted Tomlinson 28th overall two years ago.
Last year, Tomlinson began the season as Detroit’s left guard but lost the starting job five weeks into the season. He ended up starting 10 games at right guard because of injuries to other players. He was a four-year starter at Duke at right guard and had been lining up at right guard with the Lions second-team offense in the preseason.
The 49ers’ starting guards at the moment are Zane Beadles on the left and Brandon Fusco on the right. Joshua Garnett, a first-round pick in 2016, appeared to be in the lead for the left-guard spot in early August when he suffered a knee injury that required surgery. He’s expected to miss at least a few games as he comes back from the injury.
San Francisco’s first-string offense has had difficulty running the ball in the preseason with Carlos Hyde averaging 2.6 yards a carry in the three games so far.
“We’ve got to get him some better looks and we’ve got to get him a few more opportunities,” Kyle Shanahan said of Hyde on Monday. “I think that will happen for him eventually.”
The trade means the 49ers have no fifth-round picks in the next two drafts. They sent their 2018 fifth-round pick and tight end Vance McDonald to Pittsburgh earlier in the week in exchange for a 2018 fourth-round pick.