If you’re in need of a tight end, the 2023 draft is the place to find one. The 49ers appear to be keeping a close eye on the position in this class, meeting with quite a few prospects leading up to the draft.
One name you can add to the list is Alabama tight end Cameron Latu, who had a visit with the 49ers this week, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. It’s important to remember that teams are only allowed 30 pre draft visits, so any use of one typically signifies a noticeable amount of interest in the prospect visiting.
Latu is 6’4 242 pounds and reportedly ran a 4.70 40-yard dash per the Draft Network. He was a multi-year starter at Alabama and set the school record for touchdown receptions by a tight end with eight during the 2021 season.
His background on the defensive side of the ball is noteworthy as well, as he recruited out of high school as a top ten defensive end prospect in the entire nation before making the switch to tight end in 2019.
He is also quite familiar with George Kittle, as Latu was one of only three collegiate tight ends who were invited to the Tight End University camp that Kittle hosts in Nashville every summer.
Latu spoke very highly of his experience working with Kittle and the other NFL tight ends in attendance:
“I love that experience of being around all the NFL tight ends, I just gained confidence in knowing that it wasn’t far off from like what I could do personally, and I’m at that stage where I look like one of them. It just made me open my eyes and knowing that I’m not really far off, but also, I learned a lot from them, as well. I took a lot away from that.”
If you’re going to play tight end for Kyle Shanahan, you have to be a willing and capable blocker. Latu showed promise in that regard and had a number of impressive reps as a blocker at this year's Senior Bowl:
Bama TE Cameron Latu combo blocking the frontside to clear the edge for the RB pic.twitter.com/oPCBU4IIT4— Billy M (@BillyM_91) February 3, 2023
He also has a layer of physicality with the ball in his hands that is likely to endear him to those within the 49ers organization.
That’s ✌️ @cameronlatu#BamaFactor #RollTide— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) September 4, 2021
It’s worth noting that the 49ers have not selected an Alabama player since Rueben Foster in their initial draft with the current regime in 2017. However, Latu is an intriguing prospect with a lot of experience playing against top flight competition for a winning program.
Will he be the one who ultimately breaks the streak of five years without selecting one of Nick Saban’s players?