The San Francisco 49ers kick off the 2015 NFL regular season on Monday Night Football, on September 14. That game. means San Francisco is now a mere 46 days away from kicking off its 2015 regular season. In the spirit of that approaching date, I thought I would steal this idea from our Oakland Raiders site.
Who wore it best: SS Tim McDonald (1993-1999)
No. 46 has not been worn by many players in 49ers history, but two of my favorites sported it. From 2006 to 2012, Delanie Walker sported the jersey. He spent his entire time with the 49ers playing second banana to Vernon Davis, but he was a critical player, particularly during the Jim Harbaugh era. He was listed as a tight end, but he could do a little bit of everything, whether it be splitting out wide, or playing more of a fullback type role. It was a shame to see him depart in free agency, but not surprising.
The best to wear it is another somewhat underrated 49er. Tim McDonald was well known to 49ers fans, but he still played in the shadow of the charismatic Merton Hanks. When you ask people about those mid-90s 49ers defenses, Hanks is going to be mentioned more frequently than McDonald. But McDonald was a solid part of this defense after joining the team as a free agent. He spent his first six seasons playing for the St. Louis then Phoenix Cardinals. He is now a defensive backs coach with the Buffalo Bills. After McDonald retired, John Clayton had a great article about him over at ESPN.com.
Who wears it now: TE Derek Carrier (2013-present)
After Walker departed following the 2012 season, the 49ers gave his number to another former college wide receiver, Derek Carrier. The 49ers signed Carrier to the practice squad in September 2013, and promoted him to the active roster in November 2013. He made the team out of training camp last year, and signed a two-year contract extension this past March.
The 49ers have eight tight ends competing for no more than three or four roster spots this year. Fourth round pick Blake Bell is not going anywhere, so that would seemingly leave one spot if Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald are not going anywhere. It makes for an interesting competition between Carrier, Garrett Celek, Busta Anderson and others.