The bar may be low, but Vance McDonald is the best tight end on the 49ers’ roster. With a 71.6 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, McDonald was PFF’s 24th best tight end in 2016.
Paulsen’s 52.6 overall grade from PFF was the 45th best among qualifying tight ends; Celek’s 45.8 grade was the 4th worst. Bell received a 50.2 overall grade, but did not play enough to qualify.
The 49ers also have rookie tight ends Kittle and undrafted free agent Cole Hikutini on their roster.
The 49ers will keep three or four tight ends. It’s hard to argue McDonald isn’t the best tight end on the 49ers roster; can anyone reasonable claim he’s not the third best tight end on the team?
If the Niners decide to go with a completely revamped group, it would come at a hefty price; would any general manager spend $13 Million for one year of a late-round pick, an undrafted free agent, and a blocking tight end?
I have a bit more faith in Shanahan and 49ers general manager John Lynch — and I expect we will see McDonald doing a lot more of this in 2017:
Hopefully we will see him producing in red and gold, in the 49ers’ new explosive offense.