The tight end position is probably one of the most clear-cut positions on the team, however, it is also one of the most interesting situations.
Vernon Davis has been holding out since the beginning of voluntary workouts and he is likely to also hold out through training camp to receive a new contract. New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham received a new contract earlier this week, which made him the highest paid tight end in the league.
I am sure Davis is looking for something along the same line. Maybe not $10 million a year, with $21 million guaranteed, but something more than $7.35 million a year. He will be a unrestricted free agent in 2016. Expect Davis to hold out on training camp, but it would surprising if Davis does not suit up for week one.
However, if Davis continues to hold out Vance McDonald could get the call. He could be a potential breakout player for the 49ers if he performs well in training camp. The 24 year old out of Rice University had a disappointing rookie season as he caught eight passes on 19 targets for 119 yards, but this year he could become a breakout player for the 49ers.
He may have been a disappointment catching the ball, but the tight end’s job also includes blocking. With McDonald’s size and good footwork, he could make more strides to become a more impressive blocker.
McDonald needs to take few extra quality snaps during training camp as Vernon Davis holds out and he could see the field more in the upcoming season. He won’t become the starter because obviously Vernon Davis is ahead of him, but he is in a solid position as the backup.
Other tight ends on the roster include Garret Celek, Derek Carrier, Asante Cleveland and Kevin Greene. I can see all of these players getting cut when the 53-man roster needs to be set.
The only one that I can see with a chance is Celek due to his past experience with the 49ers, but he only has six career receptions so he could just be taking a roster spot away from another player that has the possibility to prove his ability on the field.
So the main story lines to follow for the tight ends at 49er training camp is whether or not Davis will continue to hold out and continuing to watch McDonald improve as an all around tight end.