2013 NFL Draft: What will the 49ers consider at tight end?

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

The 49ers are likely to grab a tight end at some point in the 2013 NFL Draft. How soon will they pull the trigger?

The always fine folks at Mocking the Draft put together a two-round live mock draft today with the help of their many readers. The 49ers have three picks in that mock, and in the first round user Poldarn selected Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert.

The tight end position is an intriguing one for the 49ers. On the one hand, they have a great tight end in Vernon Davis, and a serviceable depth option in Garrett Celek. Most teams would be plenty fine with that. However, the 49ers are unlike many teams in that they use two tight ends quite frequently, and have little concern with rolling out three tight ends at one time.

Eifert is considered the top tight end in this year's draft class, and almost guaranteed to go in the first round. Although there is a good chance Eifert will go before the 49ers pick at No. 31, they would still potentially have a shot at Zach Ertz. While Ertz is not the blocker Delanie Walker turned into, the 49ers have the coaches to improve that. And of course, Ertz would get to learn from a great blocking tight end in Vernon Davis.

Earlier today, Matt Barrows put together a post discussing the 49ers needs as they look at the 2013 roster, but also as they look beyond that. In what seemed like a bit of a throwaway line (literally the last sentence of the post), Barrows threw out a name:

I've heard that the team has shown a "strong interest" in Cincinnati's Travis Kelce, who is one of the best blockers in this year's draft.

You can read some more about Kelce over at Bucs Nation, who had a scouting report on the Bearcats tight end back in January. He missed out on the Combine with an abdominal tear, and it sounds like he missed out on Cincinnati's Pro Day, opting instead to work out on his own on April 4.

I've seen projections all over the place, with many focusing on the third and fourth rounds. There was an interesting comment in a Pro Football Weekly article back in February, with an NFL source calling Kelce "a train-wreck character-wise" and his baggage would be the reason he drops to the third round. The article discusses a few things about him, including his suspension in 2010 for breaking team rules.

I think most of us would be pretty surprised if the 49ers did not draft a tight end, and I bet most would be surprised if it didn't happen in the first four rounds. The question at this point is who and when.

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