No. 5: Tight End Cole Hikutini
The 49ers dodged a bullet with projected No. 1 tight end George Kittle suffering a separated shoulder and not a broken clavicle during the Niners’ 24-21 win over Dallas. But it wouldn’t be a shock if San Francisco bottles up the second-year pro and saves him for regular-season action.
Like a number of other positions, tight end depth is a question mark this training camp. But one of the bigger benefactors of Kittle’s injury is fellow second-year pro Cole Hikutini, who saw an uptick in playing time after the former’s injury and managed one catch for 18 yards during that contest.
And according to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner, Hikutini managed to see some first-team red-zone reps during the 49ers’ practice on Monday.
Hikutini, who saw four games a year ago during his rookie season, might have already been a favorite to land on the Niners’ 53-man roster in 2018 behind Kittle and Garrett Celek. However any doubts about Hikutini’s future are likely eased with Kittle out for the foreseeable future.
It wouldn’t be a shock if San Francisco continues to give the former Louisville prospect more looks between now and Week 1.