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49ers depth chart 2017: Are they better, worse, or the same at tight end compared to 2016?

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The 49ers are likely starting a rookie at right end. Are they better off than they were a year ago?

NFL: Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Vance McDonald was a source of frustration for many fans of the San Francisco 49ers. Here on Niners Nation, he was one of the more divisive players on the roster. At the end of the day, though, he struggled with drops enough that it was a definite problem and he wasn’t that big a contributor in the passing game.

Then again, the passing game as a whole was pretty wretched for most of McDonald’s tenure with the 49ers, so it’s not surprising that he struggled to produce. With a new regime, the 49ers were always likely to move on from McDonald, and they did so by trading him to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

They also brought in a rookie in George Kittle, and he already looks game-ready. Garrett Celek remains, and is the only one who returns to the active roster from the beginning of 2016. Blake Bell was a quarterback convert, a project from a previous regime, and it’s not surprising that he was released.

Logan Paulsen is a good blocker, and he’s made it onto the regular season roster. The 49ers have three tight ends, but fullback Kyle Juszczyk will likely be in the mix there at well. Kittle has a lot of potential and I’m excited to see where he goes.

As we’ve done with the running backs and will do for every position over the next day or so, we want to know if the 49ers are better off now than they were at the start of the 2016 regular season at the tight end position.

2016 TE depth chart: Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek, Blake Bell

2017 TE depth chart: George Kittle, Garrett Celek, Logan Paulsen

To me, it’s an improvement, but only because I felt McDonald’s drops were among the more infuriating things on the team. I like Kittle’s potential, but I also worry that if it turns out he’s in over his head, Celek is purely unremarkable.

Poll

Are the 49ers better, worse or the same at tight end compared to the start of 2016?

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    Better
    (1260 votes)
  • 4%
    Worse
    (76 votes)
  • 18%
    Same
    (299 votes)
1635 votes total Vote Now