We're gonna take a break from your regularly scheduled crazy San Francisco 49ers offseason to bring you some regularly scheduled depth chart and roster analysis. While I can't offer something as enticing as, say, Colin Kaepernick under investigation, I can talk to you about the tight end position.
Now, last season we saw the first significant change in the tight end depth chart in some time, as the 49ers allowed Delanie Walker to join the Tennessee Titans as a starter and drafted Vance McDonald relatively early in the 2013 NFL Draft. McDonald was supposed to be Walker's replacement, to varying results.
McDonald played in 15 games and only managed eight receptions for 119 yards. He dropped a few passes and we can definitely say he was most disappointing in the passing game. I think a lot of people here expected more out of McDonald when it comes to said passing game. I'm not sure what he has to offer there going forward.
But where he disappointed me the most was his blocking. I was not impressed by his run blocking by any stretch of the imagination. He made some really solid blocks out in space, and he was notably a lot better as a blocker in the final three or four games of the season, but I personally thought he did more harm than good for the first half and part of the second half of the season.
I'm not sure where the 49ers go from here when it comes to the tight end position, but McDonald will almost certainly get another season to show he's the real deal. McDonald will be, once again, behind Vernon Davis, and likely ahead of either Garrett Celek or Derek Carrier.
The 49ers have not done anything to address the position in free agency and going forward, I can't see any moves being made. They always want more bodies and more blockers so we might see something, but it would be an inconsequential move.
But what about the NFL Draft? Personally, I don't claim to understand what exactly is going on in Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh's respective heads. They're surprised me time and time again, and while it appears too early to bail on McDonald, you never know what's going to happen. The team has made some moves -- or attempted to make moves -- that might imply they are looking for a more open passing game next season. If that's the case, maybe they draft a tight end more suited to that.
Whatever the case, we turn to Poldarn's consensus big board rankings once again. He's a user on this site and he's done all the work so people like me can be super lazy and cite him. Either way, here's the tight ends that appear on his lift, with the overall rankings in parenthesis.
1. Eric Ebron, North Carolina (14)
2. Jace Amaro, Texas Tech (27)
3. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington (48)
4. Troy Niklas, Notre Dame (60)
5. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa (104)
6. Arthur Lynch, Georgia (155)
7. A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State (158)
8. Marcel Jensen, Fresno State (189)
9. Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State (190)
10. Richard Rodgers, California (197)
11. Xavier Grimble, USC (201)
12. Jake Murphy, Utah State (216)
13. Joe Jon Duncan, Dixie State (230)
14. Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin (236)
15. Rob Blanchflower, Massachusetts (250)
16. Colt Lyerla, Oregon (255)
17. Jordan Najvar, Baylor (297)
18. Kaneakua Friel, Brigham Young (341)
19. Alex Bayer, Bowling Green (346)
20. Michael Flacco, New Haven (349)