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49ers 90-in-90: Cole Wick

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today is TE Cole Wick.

Detroit Lions v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Cole Wick (no relation to John) was a 6-sport athlete in high school — MVP of the basketball team and a two-way football player, as well as swimming, golf, baseball, and track and field. Then again, with only 26 students in his graduating class, it wasn’t that hard to make the teams.

He went to Incarnate Word college — a small Catholic school that didn’t have football until 2009. The Detroit Lions signed him as a UDFA in 2016, thanks to personal connections (his college coach is a “good friend” of Jim Caldwell, and his OC’s brother was the Lion’s ST coordinator.)

Wick had 2 receptions on 3 targets, for a total of 18 yards and one first down that year, which is likely to be the peak of his NFL career. A knee injury forced him onto the IR list on November 1, 2016 and he was cut from Detroit’s practice squad last September 6th.

The Niners signed him to their practice squad on October 18th, after Cole Hikutini was promoted to the 53 man roster, but Wick was not promoted to the team when Hikutini went on IR himself. The team instead kept cutting and re-signing Logan Paulsen, who ended up playing in 14 games without getting a reception. Paulsen signed with Atlanta as a free agent this spring, but it wasn’t a great sign for what the team thought of Wick.

Basic info

Age: 24 (turns 25 on November 30, 2018)
Experience: 1 accrued season
Height: 6’6
Weight: 257 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.93 (pro day)
Vertical jump: 36.5”
3-Cone drill: 7.16

Cap Status

He signed a 2-year, $1.2 million contract with the 49ers this year, with no bonuses. He’ll get $555,000 if he makes it though the year; the team gets it all back if they cut him.

Why he might improve in 2018

Wick has NFL size and decent athleticism, and is a willing and able blocker. After George Kittle and Garrett Celek, he’s the best blocking TE on the team (given Logan Paulsen’s departure). If he has fully recovered from his knee injury, this is the perfect situation for him to make his move.

Why he might regress in 2018

He’s a big boy, but the leap from two tiny schools with little in the way of a football tradition might have been just too much for Wick. Durability is a big concern: he injured his shoulder the first time he was tackled in a game and barely made it through October in the only stretch he has played.

The Niners got a long look at him last year, amid multiple injuries to their tight ends, and didn’t show much sign of being impressed (though they did re-sign him this spring).

Odds of Making the Team

Very slim. The front office seems quite happy with Kittle, Celek and Hikutini as their three tight ends. More realistically, Wick is fighting TE Ross Dwelley for a spot on the practice squad.