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“It’s going to be a fun competition”: George Kittle evaluates 49ers’ tight ends

May 30, 2021 at 3:28 PM--

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Second-year player Charlie Woerner may not know what "OTAs" stands for, but he feels the San Francisco 49ers tight end group is really "getting after it" this offseason.

It's organized team activities, by the way, for Woerner or others who did not know.

The 49ers kicked off their Phase Two of the offseason program last week, and we even heard from one of the veteran tight ends, George Kittle. Grant Cohn of Sports Illustrated was very interested to hear how the All-Pro tight end would evaluate the team's young tight end group.

"I think it was awesome this entire offseason, I had [Daniel Helm] and Charlie Woerner with me in Nashville, so we got to train," Kittle shared. "So I got to see them the entire offseason. And besides the fact that Dan Helm looks like a G.I. Joe and Charlie Woerner can bench press a house, they've both come a long way since last year. I think they both look really good.

"[Ross Dwelley] looks incredible. He's the same guy he always has been. A little bit faster, I think. Still got those sticky hands. I know he's your (Grant's) favorite tight end, but he's also my favorite tight end, and so it is what it is."

Kittle missed eight games last season due to MCL and foot injuries. The 49ers thought they planned ahead by signing veteran Jordan Reed, but he, too, missed several games. Reed retired this offseason. Behind Kittle and Dwelley are Helm, Woerner, Daniel Helm, and Josh Pederson.

"My guy [Josh Pederson], he's a rookie. He's learning it out. But the fact that we get to split up on two different fields allows us to get a lot more reps, which is nice to see. You know, watch his tape. He's definitely a natural athlete."

Pederson was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana-Monroe. Interestingly, he is the son of former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson.

After Kittle and Reed's 74 combined receptions last season, Dwelley caught 19 passes, and Woerner caught three. San Francisco could always add some depth behind Kittle, as it did last season by signing Reed. Veteran tight end MyCole Pruitt is scheduled to visit the team this week. For now, Kittle likes the tight end room as it stands.

"I think we're a tight end room that we have the ability to be a really good room, that you can rely on, from me to Dwelley," Kittle added. "Charlie's definitely taken a lot of steps forward, and it's going to be a fun competition this entire OTAs and all of training camp just to see what guys can do day in and day out."

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