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Cole Hikutini likely has the edge among 49ers TE bubble candidates

The San Francisco 49ers have quite a few roster questions. The wide receiver position is deep enough that a lot of players could be left on the outside looking in.

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up minicamp and are now five weeks away from the start of training camp. The 90-man roster is just about set, although a transaction here or there would not be entirely shocking. Shortly after the draft we put together a complete roster bubble watch, and now it’s time to re-visit it. The offseason workout program did not lock in most roster spots, but it might give us some hints here and there.

Over the next two weeks, we’re going to take a look at each position, and what the bubble watch looks like. As we’ve done for a while now, the bubble watch breaks down to lock, strong bubble, weak bubble, and longshot. For some positions, we’ll have multiple players listed at strong bubble, even though not all are likely to make the roster. But the idea is that they both stand a good shot, even if it is just one of them. Additionally, this does not reflect whether or not a player will be traded. Trades can and probably will happen during training camp, but the positioning on this focuses on whether or not they’d be cut.

Running back
Wide receiver
Tight end
Offensive Line
Defensive Line

Today, we’ll take a look at the tight ends

Lock: George Kittle, Garrett Celek
Strong Bubble: Cole Hikutini
Weak Bubble: Cole Wick, Ross Dwelley
Longshot: None

I made one change on this bubble watch. Previously, I had listed Cole Hikutini as weak bubble with the other two tight ends. I bumped him up to strong bubble this time around. He still has a lot of work to do, with concerns about drops and body catches persisting. But, he has experience on the 53-man roster, and was a priority free agent a year ago.

If Hikutini struggles with his pass catching in training camp, it could open the door for Cole Wick for Ross Dwelley. In the meantime, those two are likely competing for no more than one practice squad spot.

I’d say the team might consider keeping only two tight ends given Kyle Juszczyk’s versatility, but I’m skeptical about that. The team kept three tight ends most of last year, bringing Logan Paulsen back and forth to the roster. I still think there’s a slim chance of one less tight end, but odds seem long they go in that direction.