The defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers will open training camp at the end of the month. But before the pads come on and the competition for 53 coveted roster spots begin, 49ers.com will preview the storylines to track for each position group on the team. San Francisco’s tight ends come into focus next in our “49ers Camp Preview” series.
The established veteran continues to find ways to improve his talents. Davis worked on route-running in the offseason by joining wide receiver drills, but remains the team’s No. 1 tight end and one of the vocal leaders on the team. Davis’ leadership has been a positive for young tight ends on the roster, including second-year tight end
[ PHOTOS - 49ERS CAMP PREVIEW: TIGHT ENDS ]
San Francisco will rely on McDonald to be a key contributor in his first season, but they’ll also ask a lot from Celek, an intriguing prospect who carved out a greater role towards the end of his rookie campaign. With offensive coordinator Greg Roman unafraid to utilize multi-tight end formations, the 49ers will need options at the position.
RETURNERS: Vernon Davis (eighth season), Garrett Celek (second season) and
Davis remains the clear-cut leader of the group and has been a constant mentor for the young tight ends on the roster. Celek, McDonald and undrafted rookie MarQueis Gray, a former college tight end, have all been outspoken in praising Davis’ leadership. With only four true tight ends on the roster, all four players will see plenty of action when training camp begins. Dobbs, an emerging defensive tackle, saw limited action at tight end in the 2012 offseason program, but primarily worked with the defensive line in 2013. Dobbs’ knowledge of the offense allows him to be an option at tight end, but he will likely continue his defensive line duties in training camp.
Davis’ 40 touchdown receptions are the most by a tight end in franchise history.
“Vance is doing a nice job. He’s progressing nicely. We threw everything at him at two different positions in the offense and he’s progressing really well. I like his demeanor and I like the progression he’s on.”
-Offensive coordinator Greg Roman gave this response when asked about the progress of San Francisco’s second-round pick.