Based solely on the team’s actions – with the release of veteran left guard Arron Sears, and the lack of drafting any offensive lineman in the NFL Draft, It’s a fairly safe bet, to come to the conclusion that the team feels more then comfortable with tackles; Xavier Fulton and Demar Dotson along with guard Marc Dile, and center Jonathan Compas as the primary backups. With Fulton, the lone drafted player in the fifth round of the 2009 draft. While both Dile and Dotson were rookie free agent finds, and Compas was a free agent rookie snapped up after the Raiders released him. One has to wonder if general manager Mark Dominik is over confident in his evaluation of last year’s reserve players.
Dile who was transitioning from college tackle to guard, spent all of last season on the teams practice squad and dealt with the tragic lose of his child all the while showing the mental toughness to conceal his emotions throughout a very tough ordeal and power through his first season in the NFL.
Dotson a former collegiate basketball player turned NFL tackle had his own set of hurdles to overcome to make the team as he is an athletically gifted, yet raw prospect who managed to earn a spot on the 53 man roster and saw limited action.
Compas was a last minute roster addition as a backup center, but when injury struck starter Jeff Faine, the team signed former Buc Sean Mahan and inserted him in at starter over Compas.
Fulton showed some signs of life in the preseason but was lost with a knee injury for the 2009 season and now looks to battle in training camp if healthy to become the team’s primary backup left tackle behind incumbent Donald Penn.
With such uncertainty surrounding the team’s current group of “Plan B” type’s at such critical positions and ultimately what could represent whether the offense and second year quarterback Josh Freeman take another step in their respective maturation process. One has to be causally optimistic, not to mention a little nervous with the teams decision to cobble all their eggs in one basket, as that same youthful inexperience Dominik and head coach Raheem Morris covet might be a major stumbling block should any of the teams starters on the line succumb to injuries.