Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but Fooch is a crazy person who manages this blog with no rhyme or reason and it's worked so far. Who am I to argue?
The San Francisco 49ers are looking for any and all options to build depth at the tight end position. The entire Week 1 depth chart dealt with one injury or another, and now the 49ers head into training camp with eight tight ends plus Kyle Nelson. That group includes fourth round pick Blake Bell.
The 49ers selected the man known as The Belldozer, and will look to help him continue developing from a career previously spent playing quarterback. He was losing his QB job, and given his size, he decided to transition over to tight end prior to his senior season. He started transitioning in the offseason, and spent the full final season working as a tight end.
It is no surprise scouting reports discuss the raw nature of his skills. David Neumann broke down some film from Bell's final season. He found a guy who had a surprisingly natural ability to catch the ball, but he needs to work on his blocking. That is something he showed improvement on as the season progressed, but he needs to work on this as much as anything if he wants to become an NFL-caliber tight end.
Here are some pre-draft scouting reports:
What to expect in 2015:
As with many of the 49ers picks this year, projecting out 2015 is tough. He will spend a lot of time learning more about the nuances of the tight end position. Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald conceivably will end up with the lion's share of the work at the position. The team looks like it might keep four tight ends, with Derek Carrier, Garrett Celek or Busta Anderson in the mix. Barring a crazy preseason, Bell is likely at the bottom of the depth chart initially.
One area where we could see him is in the red zone. He was an impressive option at Oklahoma, particularly alongside Trey Millard. I don't think they create many extensive packages for Bell, but they could mix it in a little.
Another area that is at least something to consider is based on his quarterback history. Bell is trying to become an NFL-caliber tight end, but he does have the QB history. Maybe the 49ers mix that in on rare occasions. They already have a dynamic weapon at quarterback, but Bell does provide some kind of intrigue for the occasional offensive package. I don't expect much in 2015, but there are some opportunities.
Odds of making the roster:
The 49ers will not be releasing the fourth round pick, and I am almost certain they will not try and get him to the practice squad. He is a developmental prospect, but he will be developing on the 53-man roster, not on the practice squad. It will be interesting to see how the 49ers split up the reps in training camp. With eight different tight ends, there are a lot of bodies to use on probably no more than four units of offense.