Vance McDonald among the more noticeable players two days into rookie minicamp

Jason O. Watson

The 49ers drafted tight end Vance McDonald late in the second round to replace Delanie Walker. We take a look at how his first practices are going.

A lot of players are getting press through the first two days of the 49ers' rookie minicamp, and tight end Vance McDonald is among the more prominent. Matt Maiocco and 49ers.com writer Taylor Price each discussed McDonald's work against safety Eric Reid. McDonald and Reid represent the team's highest practicing draft picks, and given how tight ends are developing in the league, Reid will need all the competition he can get if he is going to become an effective free safety in the NFL.

Last week, Gil Brandt broke down nine draft picks after the first round that seem to be in a position to make an impact in their rookie year. Vance McDonald appeared on Brandt's list:

McDonald is a great steal. He should step right in and contribute from Week 1 as the Niners' second tight end, out-producing the departed Delanie Walker in that capacity. He has the speed and coordination to play the position and possesses very good hands, though he must learn to block better.

In 2012, the 49ers used high picks on guys they were content sitting for much or all of their rookie year. It is possible they think Garrett Celek or Cameron Morrah could take hold of the No. 2 tight end job, but I think most of us doubt that. McDonald has plenty to prove, particularly with his in-line blocking.

He has the kind of experience to be utilized all over the field, which is right in line with what the 49ers offensive game plan likes to do. If he can improve on his blocking, he can be a similar kind of dynamic weapon as was Delanie Walker. Well, assuming he can do a better job hanging on to some of the more simple passes. The addition of McDonald, along with Anquan Boldin opens the door for new opportunities for an offense that was already growing more dynamic by the day.

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