10 Areas of Hope, Concern for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016
By Peter Panacy
What to Make of the Tight End Position?
For years, Vernon Davis capped off the cast for the 49ers at tight end. With him gone, the next Niners starting TE is going to be…
This role could go to Garrett Celek, who signed an offseason extension. Or, perhaps, fellow tight end Vance McDonald gets the nod. Heck, even second-year pro Blake Bell — a former collegiate quarterback at Oklahoma, who shifted to TE his senior year — gets the promotion.
Who knows? Maybe the 49ers feature former Stanford wideout Devon Cajuste as a No. 1 tight end this season.
Room for Hope
Bell and Cajuste might be the biggest reasons for hype and hope entering 2016.
While raw, Bell is about as physically enticing as it gets. And we can’t overlook former fullback Bruce Miller and his transition to the TE spot.
Still, let’s keep our focus on Cajuste. The 6-foot-4, 227-pound Stanford product is listed as a wide receiver, but his frame makes him an excellent candidate for a tight end and red-zone threat, as our friends over at NFL Mocks suggested.
Lastly, Celek could wind up justifying the contract extension he received after a solid pre-injury effort in 2015.
Room for Concern
Bell is raw, as stated above. And potential doesn’t always translate to on-field capability. Cajuste could be a hidden gem, but will the 49ers have room for him on the roster if there are any worries about the rest of his game?
Entering his fifth pro season, we might have already seen the best Celek can offer. Maybe he flashes some prowess. Maybe he doesn’t.
And Miller? Since head coach Chip Kelly doesn’t have much use for fullbacks in his system, switching Miller to TE makes sense. But it’s an adjustment, even if Miller fulfilled a bit of an H-back role previously. It could work. Maybe.
Oh, and McDonald should draw enough concern as is. Just ask Fox Sports’ Dieter Kurtenbach:
Next: Carlos Hyde and the Running Game