With free agency signings starting in a matter of days, we should soon learn the fate of Delanie Walker. Delanie could ultimately be re-signed by the 49ers, but it appears he's ready to test the open market and see if he can land a starting job elsewhere. If he isn't retained, the 49ers will be looking to replace him. Delanie will be hard to replace because of his h-back skillset. Tight ends like that aren't the easiest to find.
Chris Gragg could fit the bill in this year's NFL Draft. The Arkansas tight end is an intriguing option in this years NFL draft, and he gained some attention at the combine. That's what happens when you're a tight end that can run a 4.50 forty. I expect that time to be even better at the Arkansas pro day.
Weight: 240 lbs
40 Time: 4.50
Vertical Jump: 37.5"
Broad Jump: 10' 5"
Bench Reps: 18
- Good route runner: Finds himself open a lot.
- Versatile: Can play as an h-back and is used to being motioned around
- Big play ability: Gragg can be lethal and can strike for a big play at anytime. Defenses will have to be aware of what he is doing at all times.
- Hands: Drops balls at times, even when he's wide open.
- Blocking: Adequate blocker but will have to improve to be successful in the NFL
- Injuries in college: Had a torn ACL in 2009 and missed time this season due to injury
Do Your Homework:
Watch Gragg take on Ole Miss and Mississippi (below):
Why He Might Fit The 49ers:
If Delanie Walker isn't re-signed, Gragg could end up fitting the 49ers like a receiver glove. If you watch Gragg play, he's very similar to Delanie in every way (build, height, speed). He'd be of the h-back mold, which we know the 49ers love to have. A "Swiss army knife" type of player, he can do everything, and the 49ers like players who are versatile. Gragg could turn out to be a very dangerous player in the 49ers offense. He is able to stretch the field and get open, and when he does, the 49ers have a quarterback able to zing it to him.
Why He Might Not Fit The 49ers:
Only two scenarios would transpire that would make him not fit. The first would be Delanie being re-signed. Second would be the 49ers draft a tight end ahead of Gragg in the draft or like one more than him in the later rounds. From a scheme stand point, Gragg fits the 49ers scheme. It's just a matter of those two scenarios.
What They Are Saying:
- Matt Miller thinks Gragg fits the Niners.
#49ers two tight ends both ran sub-4.5 times pre-draft. If the team goes TE this year, Chris Gragg (#Arkansas) fits the mold.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 4, 2013
- Check out his stats on cfbstats.com
-Gragg's pro day will be March 15
I hope the 49ers are able to keep Delanie Walker. If they aren't, Gragg is a realistic option, and an option I wouldn't mind. He isn't the huge sized tight end some may be clamoring for, but 6-3 is tall enough, especially with the speed he has. Gragg will more than likely be selected in round three or four, and I feel he is worth a pick in either round.