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Why 49ers third-round pick Puni comfortable with switch to guard

Why 49ers third-round pick Puni comfortable with switch to guard originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

With OTA’s and minicamp right around the corner, 49ers rookie offensive lineman Dominick Puni is looking forward to switching from tackle to guard.

Speaking to Kay Adams on the “Up & Adams Show,” Puni was asked how feels about changing positions on the offensive line.

“When I played guard in 2022 it just felt really comfortable, I felt comfortable inside,” Puni said. “It was the first year I played it, and I did pretty well so the transition wasn’t too crazy for me. The 49ers have a hell of an offensive line so — obviously, you got Trent Williams at left tackle, he’s the best left tackle in the NFL — so moving me to guard I have no problem with, even playing center I have no problem with.”

Selected by San Francisco with the No. 86 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, Puni will slot into an offensive line that aims to do a better job protecting quarterback Brock Purdy. The 49ers hope that the 24-year-old can make the positional shift and become a stopper in the middle of the field, where the team has struggled in recent seasons against interior pass rushers.

Puni is excited to play next to his idol, left tackle Williams, but the rookie will have to earn a starting position on the offensive line as the 49ers return the bulk of the unit from the 2023 season.

Given that Purdy remains on his cheap rookie contract for one more year, San Francisco has been working to keep its vaunted offense together for one more season. Between Purdy, Williams, receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle and running back Christian McCaffrey, the 49ers will again have one of the league’s most potent offensive units.

During his collegiate career at Kansas, Puni excelled at run blocking and demonstrated great quickness off the line, something that will be crucial to the success of San Francisco’s inside run game.

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