Marcus Martin Becoming Versatile Piece of 49ers Offensive Line

We know Marcus Martin can play center. The San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman proved that in 2014 when he started eight games as a rookie at the position.

Now the 49ers coaching staff is asking Martin to learn to play right guard, something he said he hasn't done since high school. Martin has taken the move in stride and is seeing daily progress at his new position.

"I think it's helping me get better as a player," Martin said. "Being able to learn two positions makes me more valuable to the team. At the end of the day that's all I want to do is help the team.

"Playing right guard, there's some growing pains, things you have to get through and things you have to get used to. The process is coming along pretty smooth. Everyday I'm just trying to get better." 

Martin is still getting reps at center while learning the new reads and progressions at right guard. This type of cross-training has become a Jim Tomsula staple along the 49ers defensive line and has now made its way to the offense.

The 49ers third-round pick from 2014 is already building off of his success as a rookie.

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"Last year was really a learning year," Martin said. "When you're a rookie and you're just thrown into the fire, you've got to come out swinging. I think last year for me was a great experience and a great opportunity. I got to learn from Mike Iupati and Mike Solari, and I got to have real game experience. That's invaluable. I'm just building off of the things that I've learned and trying to use that game speed in practice."

Training camp for any player comes with its fair share of lumps and learning moments. The former USC Trojan has embraced those instances and used them to continue his progression ahead of his second season.

"The point of practice is to learn from your mistakes," Martin said. "Everyday is not going to be a perfect day. The days that aren't perfect, you come in, you watch the tape, you reevaluate and you try to figure out the things that you can do better as a unit and as an individual.

"Coach (Eric Mangini) is doing a great job with that defense. It's only helping us get better because we're really seeing things that we haven't seen before that we wouldn't call a traditional style of defense."

Martin is put in daily 1-on-1 battles with the 49ers front seven. It's a deep group of linemen and linebackers that provide competitive matchups against the offensive line. Martin noted three guys in particular as standouts thus far in camp.

The first was 49ers 2015 first-round pick Arik Armstead.

"He's very talented and very strong," Martin said. "He's going to be a dominant force in this league. He's a great player."

The offensive lineman said that newly acquired Darnell Dockett has been a great challenge to block as well as a huge source for knowledge and tips.

"He's an amazing player," Martin said. "I watched him growing up. I am thankful I have the opportunity to learn and practice against him. He gives me tips about things he feels like I can do better playing guard. He's been a part of helping me in this learning process."

Finally, Martin raved about how good NaVorro Bowman has looked in camp. 

"Bow is a very talented athlete," Martin said. "I think Bow is a phenomenal player. He's going to dominate like he always has. He looks 100% out there and he's rolling. I'm happy for Bow."

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