With the San Francisco 49ers reporting for training camp on July 26, we’re taking a look at players that’ll be fighting to make the final 53-man roster in 2019. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, in their third year, have built a team that features the most competition since the pair took over in 2017. Today, we’re breaking down a veteran tight end that was added to the competition this offseason.
George Kittle is the only roster lock among the 49ers’ group of six tight ends. The Pro Bowl starter authored a record-breaking 2019, setting the single-season record with 1,377 receiving yards. Behind him is a mix of young and veteran talent all vying for what’s likely to be two open roster spots. Firmly in the mix is Levine Toilolo, who was signed to a one-year deal this offseason.
Formerly of the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons, Toilolo has experience in Shanahan’s system stemming from their time together in 2016, during the team’s Super Bowl run. In 2018, Toilolo totaled a modest 21 receptions for 253 yards and a touchdown although a capable pass-catcher, the bulk of the veteran’s stock lies in his abilities both as a run and pass blocker.
Toilolo is in the mix to land a spot on the 49ers’ final 53-man roster. His primary competition will be fellow veteran Garrett Celek, second-year undrafted free agent Ross Dwelley, and rookie Kayden Smith. Celek underwent back surgery during the offseason and is expected to miss a portion of training camp. He’s due $2.7 million in 2019, with only $625,000 guaranteed. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the team parted ways with “Celek Time” in favor of both younger and cheaper talent.
The 49ers kept three tight ends in 2019. As a sixth-round pick, Smith’s chances at a roster spot are good. Along with Kittle, this leaves one more spot for which Toilolo seems to be the favorite over both Celek and Dwelley.
Projected tight end depth chart:
Previous players on the bubble:
(Click name for breakdown)