2009 Roster Projections: Tight End/Special teams wrap up

I realize we've had a lot of discussion about the tight ends lately.  We've compared Bear and the Duke.  We've discussed the fashion interests of Vernon Davis.  Before we get into my first 53-man roster projection, we might as well wrap up the tight end discussion today....or at least enough for our purposes at this point.  In case you missed them, we've already addressed linebacker, safeties, wide receivers, cornerbacks, offensive line, running backs, defensive line, and quarterbacks.

Also, as a heads-up, Samuel Lam put together a 49ers positional battle piece on the tight end position if you want to check that out.

Locks
Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Bear Pascoe

Slim/No Chance
Joe Jon Finley

I was ready to have a bubble watch between JJ Finley and Bear Pascoe, but let's be honest...how many people actually think someone other than Bear Pascoe gets that third tight end spot?  The team won't be keeping 4 tight ends, so there you have it.

A lot of our discussion has centered on Vernon Davis and Bear Pascoe.  That would seem to make sense given that Davis is the #1 guy and Pascoe is the new toy.  Throughout all this though, Delanie Walker has been ignored for the most part.  Walker was a wide receiver converted into a tight end and often times, he reminds me of Thomas Clayton.  He's a guy who excels in the preseason but has not been able to do much of anything once the season gets going.  Sure, he's a decent kick returner, but it's not much to write home about.  He's certainly seen more regular season action than Clayton, but it still has me curious.

I was going back through the 49er's draft history and I noticed something interesting.  Just like Bear Pascoe, Delanie Walker was a 6th round draft choice.  In my mind, any production from late round picks is a bonus and not expected.  So it sort of becomes a comparison between Walker and Pascoe.  Pascoe appears to be here to fill the Bajema role, but with some solid hands to boot.  Walker on the other hand is supposed to be a great receiving tight end and special teams player, but not much of a blocker.

Given the ability to carry three tight ends, it seems like any shortcomings can be overcome.  And yet, I still wonder which one will excel?  Or maybe both will?  I doubt the latter, but crazier things have happened.  There's been a lot of discussion about how Vernon Davis will see more passes his way this season in a tradiitonal tight end role.  The question becomes who will step up more behind Davis: Walker or Pascoe?

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