The San Francisco 49ers have their front office and part of the coaching staff in Indianapolis this week for the 2015 NFL Combine. It marks the best opportunity to see most of the note-worthy draft eligible players, and that includes up to 60 meetings with the players. The 49ers have likely had several meetings already, but here is one that was confirmed by a player:
For my 49ers crowd, Miami TE Clive Walford said he spoke to team at Sr Bowl and has formal sit down with them here at the Combine.— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_PPI) February 18, 2015
A visit can mean nothing in the big picture given that teams will chat with a lot of players leading up to the draft. But it is still interesting to track the names that pop up in connection with the 49ers.
The general consensus seems to have Walford as the No. 2 tight end, behind Maxx Williams (Minnesota), and ahead of guys like Nick O'Leary (Florida State) and Ben Koyack (Notre Dame). Poldarn posted his latest composite big board at the end of January. The composite had Walford ranked 76th overall.
Walford has the size and athleticism to handle both blocking and receiving duties. That composite ranking puts him firmly in the third round, but both Buffalo Rumblings and Big Blue View would be fine with grabbing him earlier than that. They both provided their scouting reports, and you can read more at NFL.com. The reports indicate he is capable in the passing game, but is not quite a big play threat.
The 49ers head into the offseason with Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald and Derek Carrier under contract. Garrett Celek is a restricted free agent, which means there is a strong chance he returns if the 49ers are interested. The 49ers could have a full stable of tight ends already in place for next season, but given the performances last season, some change could be in order. Even if Davis returns, he is entering the final year of his contract. McDonald has been underwhelming, although injuries were a problem this year. Carrier is an intriguing prospect, but he has never really broken out, and injuries cut short his 2014.
I don't know that I would see the 49ers investing in a tight end in the first two or three rounds, but plenty can change between now and late April. The 49ers seemingly have bigger concerns at the moment, but it's not like tight end is a rock of stability.