The San Francisco 49ers made a last-minute change to the roster before OTAs with the addition of tight end Tyler Kroft, who has a real shot of making the final squad.
Normally, the last-second shuffling of rosters isn’t something that’s particularly interesting or noteworthy. Often a team wants to just finetune things headed into the preseason programs, and almost always, they won’t be anyone of note.
But with the signing of veteran tight end Tyler Kroft, the San Francisco 49ers have a potential camp battle on their hands, already given that head coach Kyle Shanahan has a fondness for using two tight ends in his schemes, combined with the lack of a true standout behind All-Pro starter George Kittle.
Currently, the two players behind Kittle who would be considered favorites for the role is veteran Ross Dwelley and the young Charlie Woerner. Both return from last season, but neither of them has truly put a stamp on the role. Dwelley was targeted only five times in 2021, while Woerner had only eight receptions and no touchdowns so far in his career.
The Niners have a bunch of tight ends on the camp roster this season, obviously with the aim of finding a diamond in the rough. But with the possible exception of Jordan Matthews, a wide receiver convert who hasn’t made his mark as a tight end, there’s nobody out there with any sort of leg up.
Kroft has flashed as a tight end before with his best season in 2017 seeing him record 42 catches for 404 yards and seven touchdowns. He hasn’t played a full season since then, however, as injuries have hurt his career.
This could be a chance for a fresh start, though, and Kroft certainly could be an intriguing player to be on the roster as either the second or third tight end. New starting quarterback Trey Lance certainly could form a chemistry with Kroft, which could give him a leg up.
Indeed, it’s who Lance finds the most rapport with in camp who figures to be one of the most intriguing stories.
Kroft may be the last player signed to the roster as of writing, but don’t be surprised if he shocks everyone and at least makes the final 53-man roster.