No. 9: George Kittle’s backup, Ross Dwelley
Tight end Ross Dwelley has come a long way from being an undrafted free agent out of San Diego State, signed after the 2018 draft.
Dwelley started on the practice squad in 2018 and was eventually promoted to the 53-man roster in Week 6, finishing his rookie season with just two catches on two targets for only 14 yards and zero touchdowns.
In 2019 Dwelley was the primary backup to the All-Pro, George Kittle. When Kittle was injured and missed two games in Weeks 10 and 11, Dwelley stepped up and performed admirably.
Not only did Dwelley start in Kittle’s place, but Dwelley also replaced Kittle late in the Week 9 game and caught the game-sealing pass from Jimmy Garoppolo with under two minutes to play.
Dwelley starred in the Week 11 game as he caught two touchdown passes to help erase a 16-point deficit San Francisco faced early in the second quarter. Dwelley’s next target and catch came in Week 16 when he ran down the seam on a vertical route. Dwelley managed to hold on to the ball whilst getting hit, illegally by the opponent’s safety, for a 25-yard gain.
That catch put the 49ers in field-goal range whilst trailing 28-24.
This offseason, Dwelley has been working out in San Diego and was not in Nashville where the rest of the 49ers quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, and receivers were having a mini-workout. Dwelley stayed in San Diego, therefore not being at any risk of getting COVID-19 from a teammate and avoiding the small injury bug.
Watch out for Dwelley to make a statement in training camp to cement his place behind Kittle in the depth chart, especially with the arrival of the sixth-round draft pick, tight-end Charlie Woerner.