We're taking a quick look at the San Francisco 49ers' tight ends with training camp just around the corner.

Projected to Start

George Kittle

Kittle is coming off a Pro Bowl season where he racked up nearly 1,400 receiving yards, 88 receptions, and found the end zone five times. He will be the focal point for many defenses this year, so we will see how he adjusts when defensive game plans are designed around stopping him. Much of the success that Kittle saw in 2018 came from backup quarterback Nick Mullens, so keep an eye on the chemistry Kittle has with Jimmy Garoppolo now that he's back healthy.

I don't think Kittle racks up as many yards, but I do believe he finds the end zone more frequently.

Projection: 75 receptions, 1,089 yards, 11 TD's

Projected as a Backup

Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo

The 49ers spent a sixth-round pick in this year's draft on Kaden Smith, a local product out of Stanford, and he looks to get some snaps during the preseason to see if he can contribute during two tight end sets, or when Kittle needs a breather. Toilolo played for Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta and was brought in primarily to be a run blocker.

Fighting for a Roster Spot

Garrett Celek

Celek had off-season back surgery, and he still hasn't been cleared from the concussion he suffered in week 16 last year. "Celek time" may be coming to an end. Besides his surgery and injuries, Celek will be facing some competition that was brought in to most likely take his roster spot.

Summary


The 49ers offense looks to be going through Kittle this season, and the 49ers will need their Pro Bowl player to find the end zone more frequently if they want a chance to fight for a playoff spot. With some new faces, the 49ers will look to training camp and the preseason to see what they have behind Kittle on the depth chart. He won't get much playing time during the preseason, so we will get to see lots of the rookie, Smith, during the exhibition games.

Next: Interior Offensive Line