With the departure of Delanie Walker, the San Francisco 49ers find themselves in need of another tight end. They didn’t sign one in free agency, which leads most to believe they’ll take one early on in the 2013 NFL Draft. The big question – will it be in the first round?
You might be thinking, why would the Niners need a first round caliber tight end when they already have Vernon Davis? At first it seems like an odd move for the franchise, but when you consider that Davis will be going into his eighth year in the league, it’s really not a bad idea. Davis had his worst season since 2008 last year, only accumulating 548 receiving yards. It was quite the drop in production from the prior two seasons.
Now, I’m not saying that Davis is washed up, but the 49ers would be dumb if they didn’t start thinking of the future. Plus, in today’s NFL, two reliable tight ends is the way to go. The 49ers already love utilizing multiple tight ends, so taking one early in this year’s draft, makes sense.
So who could they get with the 31st pick?
A very popular name on mock drafts everywhere is Zach Ertz out of Stanford. Head coach Jim Harbaugh recruited and coached him there, so clearly there could be some bias in play. The top TE prospect, Tyler Eifert, figures to be off the board by the time San Francisco picks, so Ertz seems to be the most likely candidate.
He’s drawn comparisons to Jason Witten, and he seems to have all the physical attributes to be effective as pass-catcher and blocker. Ertz isn’t a guy who’s going to come in and light it up right away, but he won’t have to with Davis on the roster.
The chances are pretty good, that the Niners will go TE in round one of this year’s draft.
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