The San Francisco 49ers did not select any tight ends in the 2016 NFL Draft, and one of many reasons might be the evolution of Bruce Miller. Lost amidst the pre-draft hubbub was word that Miller has been getting some snaps at tight end during the 49ers offseason workout program, according to Matt Maiocco.
Chip Kelly's offense generally does not seem to use a ton of the fullback position. Miller is getting fullback work, but he is also working at tight end. At the NFL Combine Kelly talked about Miller as an overall football player, as opposed to simply a fullback. He has rotated around a bit in the 49ers offense, so this is not exactly a shocking development for him. But it does provide further depth at the tight end position.
The 49ers currently have Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek, Blake Bell, Je'Ron Hamm, and Busta Anderson also getting tight end work. The team signed Stanford wide receiver Devon Cajuste as an undrafted free agent, and there is some thought that he could get work in an h-back and/or tight end kind of role.
The tight end position has some intriguing talent, but a whole lot of questions as the offseason workout program progresses. McDonald is entering the final season of his contract, Celek recently signed a contract extension through 2019, and Miller is signed through 2017. My guess is McDonald emerges as the leading pass-catcher in that group, but Miller will be an interesting one to watch in the preseason.