Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports


49ers UDFA Dark Horse: Ross Reynolds

Matthew Barr
May 3, 2019 at 2:00 PM


The 2019 NFL Draft has come and gone and after the dust settled, the San Francisco 49ers had added eight draft picks and eleven undrafted free agents. While the Nick Bosas and Deebo Samuels of the world will garner a majority of the attention, undrafted free agents actually make up a fifth of all NFL rosters. Just last season, the 49ers' leading rusher and leading receiver, running back Matt Breida and wide receiver Kendrick Bourne respectively, were both UDFAs following the 2017 draft. The weakest position group on the team is offensive line and that is where rookie Ross Reynolds could make his impact.

Reynolds, a redshirt senior from the University of Iowa, comes with only one year of starting experience but he made the most of it: he was named to the second team All-Big 10 and a PFF second team All-American. At 6'3" and 304lbs, Reynolds possesses the ability to play at any of the interior OL positions and is surprisingly athletic for his frame. He displayed a knack for blocking not only horizontally in Iowa's zone scheme but also vertically to get to the second level to knock linebackers out of the play. Although his run blocking is better than his pass protection, he does possess good footwork and awareness to be more than capable to hold his own at the NFL level.

The major knock on Reynolds' game is his lack of starter experience. During his time at Iowa, he suffered weight issues and injuries that kept him on the sideline. The knee injuries wreaked havoc on his weight and it took him some time to get back into playing shape. Starting in 2017, Reynolds was able to put those behind him to become a solid backup for Iowa before stepping into the full-time starting role last season. Luckily for Reynolds, the 49ers have not made any other significant moves at the guard position this offseason.

Mike Person, a serviceable starter last season, was resigned before free agency began but the contract does not reflect starter-level money, earning only $9M over the next three years. This week, Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch decided to not pick up Joshua Garnett's fifth-year option and it appears they will allow him to test free agency, if he even survives roster cuts. Garnett is one of the last holdovers from the Baalke era and at times last season seemed to upset the coaching staff while working through an injury.

They also waited until the week of the draft to add free agent Ben Garland to the group. Garland spent the last four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and comes with experience in Shanahan's offense. His run blocking was superb last season, however, his pass protection was abysmal. At 31, Garland appears to be little more than a camp body to keep fresh legs on the field throughout the summer heat.

Laken Tomlinson appears to be firmly entrenched in the starting role at left guard but his counterpart on the right side is open for competition. The lack of draft capital and priority free agent signings leaves the door wide open for Ross Reynolds to secure that a roster spot. He could become the latest UDFA to work his way into the starting lineup for Kyle Shanahan.
  • Matthew Barr
  • Written by:
    Matthew Barr has been writing for 49ers Webzone and 49ers Hub since 2018 and co-hosts the 4th and Gold podcast which can be found on all podcast platforms. He can be found on Twitter fighting an endless battle to get the underscore removed from his handle, @MattBarr_.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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