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Position group discussion: Tight End

  • Karma
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 762
One of my favorite things to do is to try to predict the 53 man roster at different points in the off season. This year presents a challenge because of the talent and potential across the current roster. I decided to take a look at each position group individually and open discussion in a more focused way. I would like to create a thread for each position group, if that works for everyone. I'll start with tight end since it is smaller but intriguing.

Roster Spots: 3

Locks: Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald

Competition: Garrett Celek vs. Cameron Morrah vs. Marquies Gray

Outlook: The two locks are pretty simple. Davis will look to build the same rapport with Kaepernick that he had with Smith. McDonald will need to learn the blocking schemes for this offense, but he has experience playing multiple positions and he must be intelligent to play for Rice. His development will be the determining factor for the third spot in this position group. If he struggles with his run blocking the team will most likely go with Celek or Morrah. Both of these players are solid blockers who offer very little in the passing game. If, however, McDonald develops as a solid inside blocker, the team can afford to be creative with the position and go with Gray. Gray played QB in college but his size, speed, athleticism, and experience as a WR make him a potential match up nightmare. He is currently listed as an HB, but we all know how fluid position titles can be on this team. Plus, Gray has been working out with former NFL TE Ben Utecht in an attempt to add to his versatility.
Too bad Gray couldnt be a Backup FB along with the TE/H-Back positions, and stash him behind our current FB. That way Celek or Morrah can battle it out for the blocking TE roll, and all bases are covered. Gray could even be a de facto 4th TE.
pretty sure celek makes the team here. good blocker, and will see plenty of time on ST. VD and McDonald, give us enough fineness and pass catching ability, to where a strong blocking TE would complement them well.
I'm rooting for Morrah. Seems the most similar to Walker out of him, Celek, and Gray.
  • Karma
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Originally posted by toppdogg32:
Too bad Gray couldnt be a Backup FB along with the TE/H-Back positions, and stash him behind our current FB. That way Celek or Morrah can battle it out for the blocking TE roll, and all bases are covered. Gray could even be a de facto 4th TE.

I think the spots at RB/FB will be harder to come by. The team really only needs Miller at FB with all the different alignments used.
  • Karma
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Originally posted by pwillis52beasty:
I'm rooting for Morrah. Seems the most similar to Walker out of him, Celek, and Gray.

I think Gray is much more like Delanie. Morgan really isn't a pass catching threat at all. Gray's speed and athleticism are much better.
Originally posted by Karma:
Originally posted by pwillis52beasty:
I'm rooting for Morrah. Seems the most similar to Walker out of him, Celek, and Gray.

I think Gray is much more like Delanie. Morgan really isn't a pass catching threat at all. Gray's speed and athleticism are much better.

You mean Morrah? Morrah is quite a bit faster than Gray, so I don't know what you're talking about. Not to mention Morrah already has NFL experience and has much more experience playing tight end. Gray is much more of a project. .
  • fryet
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 2,871
The thing I like about Vance McDonald is that I think that he can truly replace Vernon on the field. Vernon has the ability to both block well as well as catch passes well. He is so good that he almost never comes off the field. He has been quite durable (except for a concussion if I remember correctly), however it is nice to have a potential backup that can do all that he can do. Delanie Walker was quite good, but I don't think he was as effective an In-Line blocker as VD (I am saying this based on his size - he is a lot closer to a WR in size than a DL).
I'm from minnesota ...So I'm rooting for Gray to make the squad
  • Kolohe
  • Hall of Fame
  • Posts: 31,435
I'm really pulling for Garrett Celek, he reminded me of Eric Johnson in that loss to Seattle, one of the only bright spots in that game.
  • Karma
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  • Posts: 762
Originally posted by pwillis52beasty:
Originally posted by Karma:
Originally posted by pwillis52beasty:
I'm rooting for Morrah. Seems the most similar to Walker out of him, Celek, and Gray.

I think Gray is much more like Delanie. Morgan really isn't a pass catching threat at all. Gray's speed and athleticism are much better.

You mean Morrah? Morrah is quite a bit faster than Gray, so I don't know what you're talking about. Not to mention Morrah already has NFL experience and has much more experience playing tight end. Gray is much more of a project. .

Yeah, I meant Morrah. I am typing on my phone and auto correct hates me! Morrah might have better timed speed, but he hasn't been able to translate it into being a pass catching threat in his time in the league. Gray is definitely a project, but he looks to have much more potential as a playmaker in my eyes. If Morrah proves me wrong, I won't have any problem rooting for him!
I don't think there's any question that the best scenario for the 9ers is for Gray to end up being the guy. Now, that said, I think he has the longest odds, since he's been playing this position for few weeks than those other guys have been playing years.

But I say this because Gray, if he rises to his full potential, could bring so much more to the position than Celek or Morrah ever could. Those guys will be 3rd TEs their whole career. Guys you bring on for extra blocking, and that might sneak out to catch a handful of balls over the season.

Gray, on the other hand, COULD be a more dangerous receiving threat because of his speed. And a more dangerous weapon in general with number of different things he could, such as lining up in the slot, splitting out wide, lining up in the backfield as a runner, even lining up as a QB for a read option play. And on top of that, he should be a better special teams player because he's faster has a better build for flying down field on coverage.

But again, all of that assumes he reaches his potential, which is a huge unknown. But I will be rooting for him to do well this offseason, because I truly believe Gray could give us the most dynamic 3rd TE option if he develops well.
Originally posted by Kolohe:
I'm really pulling for Garrett Celek, he reminded me of Eric Johnson in that loss to Seattle, one of the only bright spots in that game.

Yea I think Celek will surprise this year. Didn't he get the most playing time out of all the rookies? No reason he can't make another jump in year #2
[ Edited by Big_Daddy on May 9, 2013 at 1:33 PM ]
Agree on Celek, our coaches get the most out of him.
After Davis, TE worries me.