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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

49ers hold pre-draft meeting with NFL combine standout TE

Rohan Chakravarthi
Apr 4, 2023 at 3:30 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers are continuing their evaluations of tight ends in the 2023 NFL Draft, as NFL combine standout Zack Kuntz recently told The Draft Network's Justin Melo that he met virtually with the organization, amongst several other teams.

Kuntz, who attended Old Dominion, was one of the major standouts at the NFL Combine, running a 4.55 40-yard dash, while posting a 6.87 three-cone, jumping a 40' vertical, and a 10-8 broad jump, which ranked him as the No. 1 tight end out of 1020 on the Relative Athletic Score(RAS) database.

Kuntz informed Melo that he's been specifically attending zoom meetings with several teams after meeting at the combine, sharing that the 49ers were one of the teams.

"I've been hopping on so many Zoom calls. I'm establishing those connections. Teams got their eyes on me at the combine. We had so many great one-on-one interactions. They're trying to figure out what kind of player and person I am. I had a lot of those great opportunities at the combine. I've had some great conversations with coaches through Zoom," Kuntz shared. I recently had some Zoom meetings with tight end coaches for the Falcons, Eagles, Giants, Packers, 49ers, Rams, Chargers, and so many others. It's almost all 32 teams. I've been busy. I'm thankful for the opportunities."

Kuntz believes greatly in his abilities as a receiver, which makes him a mismatch in the open field, especially on choice routes.

"I'm fairly indifferent. I love running what we called a choice route in our offense. It gives me a different opportunity to use my tools to attack leverage. I can do some different things. It gives me the power to run the route how I see fit. You'll see a lot of that on my film. We loved to run that corner route," Kuntz said to Melo. "At the end of the day, you can put me anywhere on the field and have me run anything you want."

However, he doesn't shy away from blocking assignments either, understanding the value of three-down tight ends, especially in today's game where teams are prioritizing "21" personnel to force defenses to match with heavier personnel.

"From the day I first stepped foot on a college campus to now, there's a night and day difference in my abilities as a blocker. I'd say the same thing about my skills as a receiver as well. I became a much better blocker within our scheme. I think it's a strong point of my game. I'm a well-balanced tight end most teams are looking for. Tight ends always want to possess that diverse skill set," Kuntz shared. "I'm that three-down tight end that teams are coveting. Excelling as both a blocker and pass-catcher has been extremely beneficial for me. The main goal is to be great at both. I want to continue improving in both areas."

The 49ers have searched for an option opposite of George Kittle ever since the tight end had a breakout 2018 season, but haven't gotten a grasp yet on their No. 2 tight end of the future, which Kuntz could fill if he gets drafted to the organization at the end of the month.

In addition to Kuntz, the 49ers have met with the following tight ends, all at the combine: Sam LaPorta(Iowa), Davis Allen(Clemson), Brenton Strange(Penn State), Josh Whyle(Cincinnati), and Brayden Willis(Oklahoma).

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