With Jordan Reed retiring, the 49ers are likely to seek out a No. 2 tight end in the 2021 NFL Draft, and these three prospects can be targets.
There could have been an outside chance the San Francisco 49ers would have welcomed back veteran tight end Jordan Reed on a cheap veteran’s-minimum one-year deal after he spent 2020 with the Niners following six years with the Washington Football Team.
But the 30-year-old Reed elected to retire this week, likely influenced by the high number of injuries he suffered over the course of his NFL career and stretching back into his college days at Florida, too.
And despite Reed reuniting with head coach Kyle Shanahan, with whom he spent his rookie season, the decision to hang up his cleats ultimately puts San Francisco back into the market for another tight end who can complement the All-Pro, George Kittle.
This has been a search Shanahan and Co. have conducted for a while now. In 2020, the 49ers were reportedly in the market for now-Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper. Even the onboarding of Reed and last year’s rookie, Charlie Woerner, suggested Shanahan wasn’t entirely satisfied with his tight end depth behind Kittle.
Even if Shanahan liked the depth anyway, it’s not hard to understand why having two legitimate pass-catching tight ends could give the Niners offense a dimension few teams around the league have.
It is, after all, awfully difficult for defenses to guard against this kind of threat.
This means there’s an excellent chance San Francisco adds another tight end via the 2021 NFL Draft. While the 49ers aren’t likely to use the No. 3 overall pick on top prospect Kyle Pitts, the prolific tight end out of Florida, looking at tight end prospects late on day two or throughout day three would be a wise move.
Here are three such players whom the Niners could target.