49ers Depth Chart Predictions at Tight End
The first question needing to be addressed is how many tight end Kyle Shanahan elects to keep on his 53-man roster.
Last year, the number increased to four late in the season: George Kittle, Ross Dwelley, Levine Toilolo and Daniel Helm. But the standard for most teams is three, and at least one of those will have to be a prime contributor on special teams.
Kittle and Jordan Reed won’t be asked to help here, so the No. 3 spot is going to be largely contingent on those special teams abilities.
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For the purposes of predictions, however, let’s assume the 49ers depth chart pans out the following way:
- George Kittle
- Jordan Reed
- Charlie Woerner
- Ross Dwelley
- Chase Harrell
- Daniel Helm
Changes to the 2020 roster structure now mean teams can keep up to 16 players on their practice squad, and four of those don’t have to fall under the usual restrictions of eligibility. This potentially opens up the door for players like Dwelley and Helm to stick around with the team even if they fail to make those top three spots.
Harrell, based on his explosive pro day efforts, is almost a lock for the practice squad if he slips through waivers.
It also wouldn’t be too shocking to see some changeups behind Kittle this season, too, namely if Reed suffers yet another injury, which has unfortunately been the trend over his career. As such, the question would be who winds up being the primary call-up. Dwelley? Harrell? Or maybe Woerner fails to make the cut, opening up the No. 3 spot just ahead of Week 1.
Either way, San Francisco’s tight end depth just emerged as one of the battles fans will want to watch when the on-field portion of training camp kicks off later this summer.