Without even catching a regular season pass yet, Bear Pascoe has gained quite a bit of popularity here. I'd imagine if you look at any message boards you'd find folks showing the Bear some love. However, it got me thinking about the 49ers tight end situation.
We all know that Vernon Davis is the #1 tight end on the depth chart. The athleticism and blocking ability is off the charts. Jimmy Raye has indicated he wants to exploit the gross mismatches that can be created with Davis. That seems simple enough.
My question is what will happen with the duo of Delanie Walker and Bear Pascoe? Prior to last season Walker signed a contract extension that would keep him with the 49ers through 2012. Walker has always been a guy who flashed some impressive ball catching skills. However, he's never really had a chance to make the leap to the next level as a tight end.
The addition of Bear Pascoe would seem to box Walker in on the depth chart. Pascoe is looked at as a blocking tight end, but the stats show he can catch the ball when called upon. When Billy Bajema was the third tight end, he was strictly a blocker. Although Walker has never had the blow up season, he had some breathing room on the depth chart. Does that change now with Bear in the house?
The 49ers signed Walker to a relatively inexpensive deal so I'd imagine he's not going anywhere anytime soon. Even if Pascoe shows some solid ball catching skills to go with his blocking potential, Walker would likely be kept around in case Vernon Davis bolts in free agency.
So, I guess it comes down to what role do you see for Delanie Walker in 2009 and going forward?