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49ers 90-in-90: Chase Harrell’s athleticism gives him a shot at TE2

Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today is tight end Chase Harrell

Western Kentucky v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Chase Harrell has been playing tight end for less than two years. The senior graduate transfer from Kansas went to Arkansas after playing wide receiver for the Jayhawks. Harrell broke out during summer camp at Arkansas, where he caught a touchdown in both August scrimmages before the season. Harrell, who added 20 pounds during the summer of 2019, is the type of athlete you want to bet on in the NFL. Even with the added weight, Harrell maintained his speed. Harrell ran a 4.51 40-yard dash and a 6.76 3-cone at his Pro Day. For reference, Brandon Aiyuk ran a 4.50. Harrell also had a 36” vertical, a 4.34 short shuttle, and benched 225 pounds 22 times. He looks the part. Harrell weighed 257 pounds at his Pro Day, so he added an additional 37 pounds since he arrived at Kansas.

Why didn’t he do anything at Arkansas, then? Reading up on Harrell and drops and overall consistencies held him back. He seems more like a project, and when you don’t have the projection, it’s tough to get drafted. On one double move he ran during the season, Harrell didn’t gain much separation. I found this clip on his Twitter page from practice:

Basic Info

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 257 pounds

Age: 23

Experience: Rookie

Cap Status

Harrell was guaranteed $27,000 in 2020 if he does make the roster. His prorated bonus of $2,666 means the 49ers will have $29,666 in dead money if Harrell is released before the season. His contract will go to $610,000 is Harrell makes the roster.

What to expect in 2020

Harrell’s athleticism gives him a chance. We don’t know what he can do after the catch because that opportunity never came up at Arkansas. The touchdown he scored in 2019 was due to a busted coverage, and Harrell waltzed into the end zone untouched after 14 yards. He had three catches all season. He’s a big target, and as you can see from the video above, he’s more of a back-shoulder type of receiver, despite his athletic traits.

Harrell needs to stand out in a way no other tight end does on the roster. Being fast helps, but being reliable and offering value after the ball is in your hands is what Harrell needs to do.

Odds on making the roster

Harrell has an uphill battle since the 49ers drafted tight end, Charlie Woerner. That doesn’t mean Woerner is a lock. Harrell will need to make a name for himself and prove that he’s a bigger threat when he’s on the field than the likes of Ross Dwelley and Woerner. Harrell is another player that will be impacted more than most due to not having exposures like minicamp and OTAs.