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Vance "Big Mac" McDonald Thread

We do need some Tony Gonzalez on third down and in the red zone
Originally posted by Ninerjohn:
And McDonald turns out to be better than Eifert too.
Originally posted by susweel:
this guy sucks should have taken Eifert.



--Maddog

Please explain.. And why'd you refer to Maddog? Not in the loop.
Originally posted by GNielsen:
McDonald is going to be a huge upgrade. Instead of balls clanking off hands of stone in the end zone, we're going to see a huge player with long arms and soft hands going up above DB's in the end zone even though he's covered. The Niners have needed that kind of TE now for quite a while and I think they've got one.

LOL....."soft hands" might be a bit of a stretch. McDonald's hands can be kind of brutal at times too. I don't see him being as bad as Delanie in that regard though.
Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
Originally posted by GNielsen:
McDonald is going to be a huge upgrade. Instead of balls clanking off hands of stone in the end zone, we're going to see a huge player with long arms and soft hands going up above DB's in the end zone even though he's covered. The Niners have needed that kind of TE now for quite a while and I think they've got one.

LOL....."soft hands" might be a bit of a stretch. McDonald's hands can be kind of brutal at times too. I don't see him being as bad as Delanie in that regard though.

Well, since Walker was tops in the league in drops, it's a safe bet that McDonald will be better. But, I only based my "soft hands" comment on some highlights I've seen. He looks to me like he can make catches away from his body, go up for catches and catch passes over his shoulders - all of that is an upgrade IMO.
Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
McDonald is all about potential, clearly there's something there as both him AND his backup got drafted while many top schools ended up with their TE as an UDFA. The guy is extremely versatile, he lined up pretty much everywhere for Rice, yes, he needs to improve as a blocker, but that goes for virtually every single TE in the draft. At 6'4" and 270, this guy is an absolute beast in the open-field, for a team that values YAC, McDonald is a guy who brings that in spades, he's well developed as a route runner and considering the 49ers just went from Delanie Walker, who by far led the NFL in drops percentage, I fail to see how McDonald could be worse than that.


Ultimately he's a nice big body, he's a nice red-zone threat and if the 49ers scouts wanted him above guys like Kelce....then they obviously see that he can be a damn good player in the NFL with the right coaching. Typical Baalke player, huge upside, needs to be coached up, intelligent and versatile.


2 years from now, nobody will be complaining this pick IMO, he's going to become a tremendous red-zone weapon for the 49ers and will develop to be a very good blocker as well.

Agreed, indeed! In fact I think its pretty clear McDonald was rated as the #1 TE on their board. Considering his body of work in that system with numerous roles.. They could have drafted some Ertz or Eifert and still had the fire power to get the players they target. McDonald will develop into the player anyone can see he can be. In fact I think in 2-3 years the Niners might boast two pro bowl TE's.. Don't be a hater, trust the coaches to get it out of him.
Originally posted by GNielsen:
Well, since Walker was tops in the league in drops, it's a safe bet that McDonald will be better. But, I only based my "soft hands" comment on some highlights I've seen. He looks to me like he can make catches away from his body, go up for catches and catch passes over his shoulders - all of that is an upgrade IMO.

The reach is a big bonus IMO. His receiving radius is impressive with his long arms and leaping ability in addition to his height. I'm fully convinced that this was a move to make the 49ers much more explosive and efficient in the red-zone.
Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
LOL....."soft hands" might be a bit of a stretch. McDonald's hands can be kind of brutal at times too. I don't see him being as bad as Delanie in that regard though.

Vernon used to have the hardest hands in the league. I personally believe he was taking performance enhancers in the early part of his career, that inevitably lead to his demise with stiffness and dropped passes.. Personally I didn't like the Rice QB in terms of his ability to get the ball placed on time. I have seen numerous plays-of McDonald that clearly show a great natural sense of catching ability and spacing, in which he'd snatch the ball and then bursts up field, seemingly knowing where the defenders behind him are relative to him. That's something that few guys of his center of gravity, and position seem to be able to do.
He'll have rookie problems and will drop some passes. So what!

IMO, in the long run he'll improve through excellent coaching, and make contributions to wins.

If JH wants him to wear Iron Mike's jersey # - he must be pretty tough. That's another component I'm really looking forward to - especially against Seattle.
  • Wodwo
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Stop comparing Vance to Walker, guys. I get it, McDonald has a documented problem with drops and Walker dropped a LOT of passes last season. Still not a good comparison.

Walker never had great hands, he isn't a natural hands catcher. Why do you think he was drafted to play fullback despite being a wide receiver in college? Lulz. He was switched to tight end during training camp. That said, drops weren't a big issue with him until last season. Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree had more trouble with drops than Walker did early in their respective careers. You have to look past this last season and determine if it was a trend or an anomaly. For example, Frank Gore had 6 drops and only 17 catches in 2011, which is almost as bad as Walker's 2012 season.

Walker's 2012 season was an anomaly. He had not dropped more than 3 passes in a season before 2012. In 2010 he had more catches and targets than in 2012. In 2009 and 2007 he had the same number of receptions as 2012, but only one dropped pass in each of those seasons.

McDonald appears to be a better natural hands catcher than Walker, but has consistently struggled with drops. I would bet that it is a concentration issue, as he was expected to gain yards after the catch in his college offense. He caught a lot of bubble screens, for example. He likely just needs to be coached to secure the ball before running with it. This is just a guess based on the little I've seen and read. I wouldn't be shocked if I were wrong.

In any case, Walker should not be compared to McDonald. They are VERY different players, who just happen to play the same position. Personally, I think Vance is going to be the better of the two.
Originally posted by Wodwo:
Stop comparing Vance to Walker, guys. I get it, McDonald has a documented problem with drops and Walker dropped a LOT of passes last season. Still not a good comparison.

Walker never had great hands, he isn't a natural hands catcher. Why do you think he was drafted to play fullback despite being a wide receiver in college? Lulz. He was switched to tight end during training camp. That said, drops weren't a big issue with him until last season. Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree had more trouble with drops than Walker did early in their respective careers. You have to look past this last season and determine if it was a trend or an anomaly. For example, Frank Gore had 6 drops and only 17 catches in 2011, which is almost as bad as Walker's 2012 season.

Walker's 2012 season was an anomaly. He had not dropped more than 3 passes in a season before 2012. In 2010 he had more catches and targets than in 2012. In 2009 and 2007 he had the same number of receptions as 2012, but only one dropped pass in each of those seasons.

McDonald appears to be a better natural hands catcher than Walker, but has consistently struggled with drops. I would bet that it is a concentration issue, as he was expected to gain yards after the catch in his college offense. He caught a lot of bubble screens, for example. He likely just needs to be coached to secure the ball before running with it. This is just a guess based on the little I've seen and read. I wouldn't be shocked if I were wrong.

In any case, Walker should not be compared to McDonald. They are VERY different players, who just happen to play the same position. Personally, I think Vance is going to be the better of the two.

I agree they are no where near the same player. About as different stylistically as you could be at the same position. But I think coaching up is a possibility not all players respond the same way. If it was a given then we would just always draft the best athlete no matter sport because we could always coach em up right? Either way you like em obviously I like his potential. I'm one of the few going on a limb making a prediction. I predict that he is the 3rd TE this year and as we should be pushing for a Superbowl this year that's important.

I predict 20 receptions and 200 yards and 1 TD his rookie year. What are you all guessing?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tX9dKo8E574
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQq9Z4-TcC4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8NtPYRgpuk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HG9UdJsfHB0

I watched a little film on a lot of prospects before the draft but wanted to go in depth for the guys we drafted. A couple thoughts I have. Not saying I am 100% correct on all this, just what I see.

-Very aggressive blocking at times, seen him back off early at times, a few times I seen blocks w/ minimal effort but mostly very willing and very good blocker

-I'd like to see him lose a little lower body weight (butt and thigh area), tighten it up and that should help him get faster/quicker as well. He definitely needs to get faster/quicker imo. No doubt working with our group he will be in better shape, the best of his life actually. On 2nd thought it's hard to tell, but if he's that thick in the thighs and the butt it could be muscle as well, if that's it maybe a little addition by subtraction. Some time losing some muscle (like v.davis) makes you a better receiver because you are more flexible and it can make you quicker. The upper body is fine.

-Maybe it's because I haven't watched enough but it seems like he would rather run over guys to get open or use his body and sit down. Don't see him running past defenders, more of a Jason Witten sit down guy... a lot of 5-10 yard in's, out's and some 5-10 yard curls. Uses his body to shield defenders... A few times made nice catches in traffic and held onto it after getting hit because his body is so thick the defenders seem to take more of a blow than he does. He might not be a vernon davis type where he can outrun defenders and catch a 50 yard pass but I think he will be a good first down guy and maybe red zone guy, he will catch the ball and turn upfield and fight for yards. Keeping it underneath can move the chains as well.

-Can take handoffs in the backfield or catch bubble screens like Walker. Walker was probably faster though. So it's an option for us but doubt we use him that way much or if at all. He had a bunch of bobbles and drops on bubble screens, looked like he was worried about turning upfield and running before catching.

-As for the hands a lot of the drops/bobbles seemed to be on those bubble screens but seen him one hand a ball against baylor that led to a pick 6. Definitely has to work on catching the ball but a lot of guys on offense and defense young and old do. One thing I liked is that he is a hands catcher and not a body catcher.

Summary: Catches with his hands not his body, still needs work on catching but most of drops I seen where from bubble screens. Can do bubblescreens/hand offs in backfield but probably wont do many at this level. More of a Jason Witten sit down guy or a use your body to block out defenders than a vernon davis tight end who can burn you deep. Probably an underneath, 1st down, maybe red zone guy.. safety blanket... pretty good blocker and very willing... I think he could get tigther in the butt/thigh area, not sure if its' fat or muscle or both but losing some of it could make him faster.. can absorb blows and catch balls over the middle due to thick body... a lot of in's, out's from 5-10 yards and some curls but can turn upfield and will fight for extra yardage.
[ Edited by Gore_21 on May 5, 2013 at 8:18 AM ]
  • Wodwo
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 8,104
Originally posted by Need4Speed:
I agree they are no where near the same player. About as different stylistically as you could be at the same position. But I think coaching up is a possibility not all players respond the same way. If it was a given then we would just always draft the best athlete no matter sport because we could always coach em up right? Either way you like em obviously I like his potential. I'm one of the few going on a limb making a prediction. I predict that he is the 3rd TE this year and as we should be pushing for a Superbowl this year that's important.

I predict 20 receptions and 200 yards and 1 TD his rookie year. What are you all guessing?

Yeah, Walker needed a lot of coaching, he was a division II WR. Scored low on intelligence tests and had academic issues, but worked hard and was coachable.

I think Vance is a lock to be the second tight end and will take over Walker's motion role. It's difficult to predict statistics because I don't know how much they'll be throwing the ball this season. I keep going back and forth between thinking Harbaugh will stick to the formula he's always had success with (running) or if he'll open up the pass game because of Kaepernick. If you put a gun to my head right now, I'd predict around 30 receptions for 270 yards and 3 TDs.

I think they'll have him run short routes into zone coverage and try to break tackles for extra yardage. They'll probably run some screens, too. I don't expect him to develop as a deep threat this season. He might get a chance to run the ball, too.
  • Wodwo
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 8,104
Lulz, just read your analysis, Gore_21. Seems like we agree. It's funny that I posted my prediction right before reading your post.
Gore thanks for nice analysis, and if there is one thing we really need this yr it is a sit down , 8-10 yrds, move the chains type of guy. I can't believe that trent/JH didn't get him JUST exactly for that...among other things.
[ Edited by pasodoc9er on May 10, 2013 at 6:35 PM ]
Originally posted by Wodwo:
Originally posted by Need4Speed:
I agree they are no where near the same player. About as different stylistically as you could be at the same position. But I think coaching up is a possibility not all players respond the same way. If it was a given then we would just always draft the best athlete no matter sport because we could always coach em up right? Either way you like em obviously I like his potential. I'm one of the few going on a limb making a prediction. I predict that he is the 3rd TE this year and as we should be pushing for a Superbowl this year that's important.

I predict 20 receptions and 200 yards and 1 TD his rookie year. What are you all guessing?

Yeah, Walker needed a lot of coaching, he was a division II WR. Scored low on intelligence tests and had academic issues, but worked hard and was coachable.

I think Vance is a lock to be the second tight end and will take over Walker's motion role. It's difficult to predict statistics because I don't know how much they'll be throwing the ball this season. I keep going back and forth between thinking Harbaugh will stick to the formula he's always had success with (running) or if he'll open up the pass game because of Kaepernick. If you put a gun to my head right now, I'd predict around 30 receptions for 270 yards and 3 TDs.

I think they'll have him run short routes into zone coverage and try to break tackles for extra yardage. They'll probably run some screens, too. I don't expect him to develop as a deep threat this season. He might get a chance to run the ball, too.

Prior art, my friend.

Luck's attempts rose from 288 in his Sophomore year to 372 in 2010.

Harbaugh will get him 30 attempts a game.
[ Edited by redrathman on May 10, 2013 at 7:13 PM ]