Under-the-radar 49ers training camp battle No. 3: Backup tight end
Players in the mix: Ross Dwelley, Tyler Kroft, Tanner Hudson, Troy Fumagalli
Another year, and we still have a scenario in which head coach Kyle Shanahan is wanting to identify a quality No. 2 tight end to back up George Kittle.
For the bulk of the last three seasons, Ross Dwelley has served in this stead, and Kittle’s unfortunate injury history almost mandates the Niners put some emphasis on this role. Especially considering Kittle missed eight games in 2020.
Yet Dwelley won’t be alone in trying to reclaim his former role as the primary support option to Kittle, particularly in the wake of San Francisco adding former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Tanner Hudson earlier this year and after grabbing former Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets tight end Tyler Kroft via free agency.
Kroft, in particular, might be the biggest threat to Dwelley on the depth chart, especially if the former is able to emulate the kind of production he enjoyed in 2017 where he netted 400-plus yards and seven touchdowns with Cincy.
Dwelley has never come close to those numbers at any point in his career, so there’s a legitimate chance he loses out and finds himself either pushed down the depth chart or off of it completely come Week 1.