SF 49ers: Final bubble watch ahead of Week 1 roster cuts

The San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
The San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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George Kittle, Ross Dwelley, San Francisco 49ers
George Kittle #85 and Ross Dwelley #82 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

SF 49ers Tight Ends

Lock: George Kittle, Jordan Reed

Strong bubble: Ross Dwelley, Charlie Woerner

Weak bubble: none

Long shot: MarQueis Gray, Chase Harrell*

The only real drama surrounding the tight end spot is whether or not Kyle Shanahan elects to keep three or four players at this position on the 53-man roster. Last year, it was four. But with the new practice squad rules, it wouldn’t be a total shock to see Shanahan change things up a bit with his reserves.

George Kittle is there, of course. But things get interesting after that.

After missing the first few days of training camp, veteran tight end Jordan Reed emerged as one of the offensive stars during SF 49ers practices. That puts him into the “lock” category, and the Niners will be lucky if they can boast a dual tandem of Reed and Kittle throughout the entirety of 2020.

Reed has a lengthy injury history, though, putting a greater emphasis on depth. If four tight ends are kept, look for Ross Dwelley and the 2020 rookie, Charlie Woerner, to make the cut without issue.

Woerner is known for his exceptional run-blocking skills, although he offers almost nothing by the way of a pass-catching target. It’s expected for him to fill the void left by now-New York Giants tight end Levine Toilolo, who was Shanahan’s blocking-only tight end last year.

But if it’s three, one could see how a bout between Dwelley and Woerner for a final spot would be provocative.

Look for the Niners to try slipping the undrafted rookie, Chase Harrell, onto the practice squad. Harrell is raw but has some exceptional physical traits worth developing.