Ross Dwelley is the University of San Diego Torero’s all-time leading TE, with 26 touchdowns and 2,305 yards on 197 receptions over 4 years. Then again, that production came against the likes of Stetson, Marist, Butler, Morehead State and Drake (the college, not the Canadian rapper, who probably would have put up a tougher fight).
Age: 23 (turns 24 on January 26, 2019)
Experience: UDFA rookie
Weight: 240 pounds
Dwelley signed a backloaded three year, $1,710,000 contract, with no bonus money, as an undrafted free agent. He will earn $480,000 if he sticks with the team through this season. If he’s cut, the team gets it all back.
Potential for 2018
Lance Zierlien’s scouting report for NFL.com ended with this quote from an unnamed “regional scout”:
“Great body control and terrible blocking. He has some potential, but he plays way too soft right now. He has to get tougher or he won’t make it.”
That’s not very encouraging. Clearly, he has potential only as a move tight end and coach Shanahan has made it clear that he likes Cole “Dirty Tini” Hikutini in that role.
Meanwhile, Garrett Celek and George Kittle can block as well as catch, and they had 336 yards/4 touchdowns and 515/2 last year, respectively.
Odds of Making the Team
The Niners did not draft a tight end this year, which cuts both ways. It means that Dwelley is the top prospect to join the team if Hikutini, Kittle and/or Celek get hurt or cut. (Cole Wick joined the practice squad late last season but didn’t get onto the roster even after Hikutini went on IR.)
But standing pat also means that the team is relatively comfortable with those three players and doesn’t feel any urgency to change.
I would be surprised to see Dwelley make this team, barring a serious injury to one or more of the incumbents, but a strong showing might earn him Cole Wick’s slot on the practice squad.