The San Francisco 49ers moved on from Vance McDonald this season, rolling with rookie tight end George Kittle and veteran Garrett Celek at the position. We ran a poll just before the start of the regular season asking whether or not the 49ers were better off at tight end compared to 2016.
The poll was overwhelmingly in favor of this year’s group being better, with that option getting 77 percent of the vote. Eighteen percent of voters chose the “same” option, while the remaining five percent chose “worse.” In other words, Kittle, Celek and Logan Paulsen are better than McDonald, Celek and Blake Bell.
McDonald hasn’t done much in seven games with the Steelers, catching five passes for 79 yards and a touchdown, so I don’t necessarily think folks were wrong there. Kittle hasn’t done a whole lot better, catching 27 passes for 277 yards and a touchdown, while Celek has 11 receptions for 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Kittle has played in nine games, but has been banged up due to injuries. He’s definitely taken a backseat to Celek in recent weeks, and I am wondering what the position will look like in the future.
Kittle and Celek are under contract through 2021 and 2020, respectively, but I feel like the 49ers haven’t seen enough to roll with those two are their top tight ends next season.
Whether that means they need to draft another player — in early rounds, as they probably don’t need another fifth-round rookie — or sign a veteran free agent, the 49ers need to bring someone else in, at least from where I’m sitting.
I’m also interested in whether or not you folks feel the same way. I think we’ve seen some very promising things from Kittle, but not enough to give the tight end position a pass next season. Or are there so many other, bigger needs that the 49ers need to address, thus making the tight end position a much lower priority?