The 49ers made the move on draft day to trade up to select offensive guard Joshua Garnett late in the first round.
On Thursday after the 49ers fell hopelessly behind to the Arizona Cardinals, the coaching staff made the move to get Garnett on the field for his first extended playing time.
Garnett replaced right guard Andrew Tiller in the fourth quarter of the 49ers’ 33-21 loss.
“Josh was OK,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said. “I think (those were) his first significant snaps. We had him in for 18 plays. He did some nice things at times and then some other things that I’m sure he wants back, but that’ll come with time with him.”
After the 49ers selected the Outland Trophy winner from Stanford with the No. 28 overall pick, Garnett was unable to attend the team’s offseason workouts until the final week of organized team activities. Garnett was prohibited, per NFL rules, from joining the 49ers until completion of Stanford’s academic calendar.
Garnett opened training camp at right guard. Then, the 49ers switched him to left guard, where he excelled at Stanford. Now, he’s back at right guard.
“He’s getting better and he’s progressing each week, so trying to get him some snaps out there and see what he can do,” Kelly said.
Garnett was on the field for the 49ers’ 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. But he appeared to be at least partly to blame for a safety. Garnett stuck with his man while Cardinals defensive tackle Calais Campbell looped around left guard Zane Beadles and center Daniel Kilgore to find an opening in the place Garnett vacated. Campbell sacked Blaine Gabbert in the end zone.
“They had a game on,” Kelly said. “It was a twist game with the two inside guys. So it was Josh, Danny, and Zane with the 3-on-2 situation for us.”