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49ers rookie Dominick Puni can’t wait to learn from Trent Williams

May 9, 2024 at 7:13 AM

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Rookie Dominick Puni is stepping into an exciting opportunity, with many speculating whether the third-round pick can contend for a starting position on the San Francisco 49ers offensive line. The team was so intrigued by Puni that it traded up eight spots, securing his arrival in the Bay Area.

ESPN analyst Matt Miller, a longtime 49ers fan, recently shared his enthusiasm for the Puni pick, lauding the offensive lineman's physicality, athleticism, and versatility.

"I think he'll be a guard," Miller said on the "No Huddle" podcast. "I don't see any chance of him playing tackle unless it's a little bit of a swing type thing. He was so dominant [in college]."

Puni recently appeared on the "Up & Adams" show hosted by Kay Adams, confirming Miller's analysis that he will start his career at guard. While predominantly a left tackle at Kansas last season, he logged all 848 snaps at left guard in 2022.

"When I played guard in '22, I felt really comfortable at guard, 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. And the 49ers, they got a hell of an O-line. Obviously, they've got Trent Williams at left tackle. He's definitely the best left tackle in the NFL.

"So, moving me in to guard, I have no problem with. Even playing center, I have no problem with. Wherever I can help the team is wherever I'll play."

Puni didn't allow a sack in two seasons with the Jayhawks while conceding only 16 total pressures.

Of course, learning from Williams is an added benefit from being drafted by the 49ers, something Puni's former teammates were quick to point out following his selection.

"It's really unbelievable," Puni said. "The first thing, my Kansas O-line teammates, they hit me up. They're like, 'Bro, you're about to play with Trent Williams. You understand that?' I was like, 'Yeah. It's crazy.' But in the NFL, everybody's good. And then there's guys who are just better than good, and there's guys who are better than that.

"Obviously, I think he's up there in the echelon, one of the greatest of all time. So, just the fact that I get to learn from him and just watch him work, just see his habits, is going to be pretty cool. ... I'm gonna ask him everything, everything I can ask him."
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