San Francisco 49ers

Erik Pears gets first crack at 49ers’ vacant right-tackle spot

Buffalo Bills tackle Erik Pears (79) blocks Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Jason Babin (58) during the first half of an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. The Bills moved Pears to guard last season.
Buffalo Bills tackle Erik Pears (79) blocks Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Jason Babin (58) during the first half of an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. The Bills moved Pears to guard last season. AP

SANTA CLARA -- Alex Boone will be on the field when the 49ers' minicamp begins this afternoon, but Jim Tomsula said that veteran Erik Pears, not Boone, will get the first crack at right tackle. Boone likely will be in his familiar right guard spot.

"Alex can play right tackle -- he played it in college," Tomsula said. "Right now we've got Pears at right tackle. And Alex I'm sure at some point will get some work at tackle."

The 49ers must reshuffle the position after longtime starter Anthony Davis retired last week. Pears, a nine-year veteran whom the 49ers acquired in free agency, had been rotating at right guard and right tackle to this point in the offseason.

Pears, who is listed at 6-8, 316 pounds, has played for Denver, Oakland, Jacksonville and most recently Buffalo. He also played in NFL Europe in 2006, the same season Tomsula was a head coach there. Last year the Bills chose to play Pears at guard instead of tackle.

Tomsula and the 49ers seem to be leaning in the opposite direction.

"That's what we've evaluated him most at," Tomsula said of Pears and the right tackle spot. "I liked the way he was moving. The biggest thing with Pears is since he's gotten here, with his weight room, he's bigger and stronger than he's ever been. He's moving really well. But again, we don't have pads on. So we're talking about this without any pads on."

Tomsula also noted that different players will be evaluated at various spots during the three-day minicamp. Coaches have liked what they've seen so far from seventh-round draft pick Trent Brown, but Tomsula said the big rookie offensive tackle still is developing.

Boone, meanwhile, had been working out in Arizona until this week. He's been the starter at right guard since the 2012 season. Asked if he think he'll get a chance to play tackle, he said it was up to the coaches.

"The coaches haven't really talked about it," he said. "It's about getting the offense down."

Aside from first-round draft pick Arik Armstead, the 49ers have a full house at minicamp. Per league rules, Armstead can't join the team until the University of Oregon's final exam schedule is complete on Friday.

The 49ers will hold their minicamp practices this week at Levi’s Stadium instead of their adjacent practice fields. The objective, Tomsula said, is to become as familiar as possible with the home field. The 49ers were 4-4 in Levi Stadium’s inaugural season last year.

“We'd like the stadium to feel like something old to us,” Tomsula

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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