They drafted Vance McDonald in the second round of 2013 NFL Draft where he was primarily a blocking tight end. He is most remembered for a 20-yard reception against the Tennessee Titans in Week 7, but also had a key drop against the Carolina Panthers in Week 10. Long-time starting TE Vernon Davis has two more seasons remaining on his current contract as he recently turned 30-years old earlier this year.
If the 49ers were drafting a tight end, it would be a long term project as the new player would be behind third TE Garrett Celek at the start of training camp on the depth chart. Derek Carrier also filled in during the 2013 season when Celek was hurt as he became an extra blocking tight end.
Here are some tight ends in part II of the 49ers Forecast series:
C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa) 6-5, 265 pounds: Fiedorowicz had an impressive scouting combine where he upped his stock, bench pressing 225 pounds for 25 reps. The tight end came in for a pre-draft visit with the 49ers, according to the National Football Post. He possesses the perfect size for a prototype TE, but would be raw in the passing game with average speed and hands. The 49ers could insert him as a strong blocking TE and even put him on special teams for field goal and punting plays. C.J. Fiedorowicz is projected to be a mid-round draft pick.
Nic Jacobs (McNeese St.) 6-5, 269 pounds: Jacobs did not dominate the FCS football competition at McNeese State, but has the perfect frame for a prototype TE. He has shown flashes to be a blocking TE as Trent Baalke would need to show faith in his coaching staff to develop him. Jacobs could be a decent receiver in the short passing game, but it appears that he will struggle against the NFL level of competition when covered. Like Fiedorowicz, the 49ers brought Jacobs in for a pre-draft visit in Santa Clara. He is currently projected to be a late-round draft pick or he could go undrafted.
Crockett Gillmore (Colorado St.) 6-6, 260 pounds: Gillmore would be another blocking TE, but with a large arm length of 33 3/4 inches. He is a better catcher than the two tight ends listed above, but is one of the slowest TEs in this draft class and will need to hit the weight room to develop further. Gillmore is projected as a late-round pick or undrafted free agent.
Jordan Navjar (Baylor) 6-6, 256 pounds: Navjar is another player who could develop into a third TE with his size. He excels primarily in pass protection and could be used in the backfield as an extra blocker. Navjar was recruited by Jim Harbaugh and was with him for one season in 2009 before his transferred to Baylor. While the 49ers have not drafted a player who was coached under Harbaugh at Stanford, there are several undrafted players whom they've signed in the offseason, including Chris Owusu, Matt Masifilo and Michael Thomas. Navjar is projected to go in the seventh-round at the earliest but is most likely to be undrafted.
49ers 2014 Draft Picks:
1. First round: Own pick, No. 30 overall
2. Second round: Kansas City Chiefs pick acquired for Alex Smith, No. 56 overall
3. Second round: Own pick, No. 61 overall
4. Third round: Titans pick acquired for a second round pick in a 2013 draft day trade, No. 77 overall
5. Third round: Own pick, No. 94 overall
6. Third round: Compensatory, No. 100 overall
7. Fourth round: Own pick, No. 129 overall
8. Fifth round: Own pick, No. 170 overall
9. Seventh round: Saints pick acquired for Parys Haralson, No. 242 overall
10. Seventh round: Panthers pick acquired for Colin Jones in 2012, No. 243 overall
11. Seventh round: Own pick, No. 245 overall
49ers Draft Forecast Series: Running Back.