Sakamoto: Joshua Garnett Solidified ‘Gold Helmet’ By Partaking In 49ers Pro Day


As I anticipated, the San Francisco 49ers were movers on the first day of the NFL Draft by moving back up into the tail-end of the first-round (No. 28) to select Stanford product G Joshua Garnett. A scenario I envisioned, as the last time 49ers GM Trent Baalke had this many draft picks to work with was back in 2013, he wasted no time making moves.

In what some would say was a bad trade, the 49ers struck a two-for-three deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. The 49ers received the Chiefs first-round pick (No. 28) and seventh round pick (No. 249) while forfeiting their second-round pick (No. 37), fourth-round pick (No. 105), and sixth-round pick (No. 178) in return.

Many Forever Faithful wanted the team to address their pass-rush, and thought they traded up for a player like troubled but talented pass-rush specialist OLB Noah Spence or one-year wonder OLB Kevin Dodd, but that was not the case. Instead the team went back to their cultural roots with the selection of Garnett. “We said all along, we want to run the football. In our minds he was the best run blocking interior offensive lineman in the draft,” Baalke told beat writers. 

“We looked at the next seven or eight picks and who was sitting there and their needs. And for us, ‘Why not?’ We like the guy, we like him a lot. We have that kind of value placed on him. Let’s go get him. And let’s not sweat it out over the next seven picks.”

At 6-4, 312, Garnett has the frame, athleticism, and feet to play on either side of the line. And while he came out of the ‘Farm’ (Stanford) that prides themselves in power run, I believe that Garnett has enough bend to easily make the transition to the zone-blocking scheme that 49ers’ HC Chip Kelly utilizes.

We had the opportunity to meet with Garnett minutes after his selection via a conference call and he believes he’s versatile enough to adapt to any scheme asked of him.

“I definitely wanted to go in and show coach [Kelly] what I could do. He had came to Pro Day at Stanford, and I kind of just wanted to go to San Francisco [Levi’s Stadium] and go down there and show, ‘Hey I’m still here, I’m still working on the kind of things you’ve been asking me to work on,” Garnett said.

It was that type of work ethic and commitment that won both the 49ers coaching staff and their scouting department over (even I was impressed) — prompting them to make the move to grab Garnett sooner rather than later. “One thing that really impressed us about him was coming to the Pro Day [49ers Local]. “That just told us a little bit more about the young man,” Baalke said.

With the 49ers needing more depth along the team’s offensive line, it appears they are now set at the guard position. They addressed their left guard need with the signing of G Zane Beadles and now have a two-way camp battle between Garnett and RG Andrew Tiller on the right side.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.