Jonathan Goodwin

Daniel Kilgore arrest could alter 49ers’ offseason plans

Daniel Kilgore was recently arrested for public intoxication in his hometown of Kingsport, Tenn.

The incident happened in the early morning hours of Jan. 26. According to a police report, Kingsport officer Greg Lane observed two males staggering on the sidewalk heading west near 733 W. Stone Drive at 2:18 a.m.

Lane stopped to speak with both males, and he stated in his report he could smell a strong odor of alcohol. He stated both men also had red eyes and dilated pupils.

After identifying the two suspects, Lane determined both were too intoxicated to be in public. He arrested both suspects for public intoxication “for their safety and the welfare of the public.” Brandon T. Thompson, 25, 3936 Thorton Drive, Kingsport, was also arrested.

One could look at this story and shrug it off as nothing beyond an isolated incident in which a San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman displayed poor judgment. Kilgore wasn’t behind the wheel (or in a passenger’s seat with his intoxicated buddy driving), he didn’t resist arrest and there were no reports of any fights. They were drunk in a town of less than 50,000, boys will be boys, and all the rest.

Daniel Kilgore 49ersHowever, Kilgore already had a lot to prove this offseason and this arrest adds more questions.

In training camp, months after Jonathan Goodwin restructured his contract, Kilgore took a majority of the first team snaps at center. There were questions as to whether Goodwin might lose his starting job, as the 49ers have had an eye toward the future at that position for a while.

But after Kilgore played 70 snaps during the 2012 regular season, that number rose to just 83 in 2013. When Mike Iupati missed time, the 49ers tabbed Joe Looney as his replacement at guard, even though Looney had been a regular on the inactive list up until that time.

Maybe the 49ers feel like Kilgore — who’s listed as a guard on the team’s website — has two specialties: center and extra blocker in their jumbo sets. But as they look to replace Goodwin either in 2014 or the year after, they can’t be happy about how Kilgore began what should be a pivotal offseason.

The 49ers have shown that they’re willing to look past excessive partying (see: Aldon Smith, Ray McDonald, Demarcus Dobbs, Ahmad Brooks). But if they were only willing to trust Kilgore for about five plays per game before, an incident like this could make them slightly more willing to make an aggressive move this offseason to shore up their center position. That could mean coaxing Goodwin back with a semi-generous offer, or splurging on a free agent center such as Evan Dietrich-Smith or Alex Mack (the 49ers love ex-Browns, after all). The most likely scenario has San Francisco drafting one of the top three or four centers in May.

This was Kilgore’s first scrape with the law, and there’s plenty of time for him to bounce back from what happened in Kingsport and embark on the most productive offseason of his career. Just because someone gets arrested for public intoxication doesn’t mean they’re a lost cause — just ask Alex Boone. But Kilgore better learn from this experience quickly, or he might find himself getting passed on the depth chart before getting a chance to make his mark.

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