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Vance McDonald, Young TEs Maximize Offseason

Posted Jul 17, 2014

The second-year tight end made the most of his offseason workload. McDonald said he feels more confident entering his sophomore campaign.

Our training camp positional previews continue with a look at San Francisco’s tight end group.


- Vance McDonald was given the bulk of the first-team reps with Vernon Davis not attending offseason workouts. The second-year tight end made the most of the added snaps. McDonald said he feels more confident entering his sophomore campaign. Helping matters are the tips and guidance McDonald receives from a defensive-minded coach, new 49ers tight ends coach Eric Mangini.

- Garrett Celek, like McDonald, received a bump in practice snaps this offseason. That was a welcomed opportunity from the younger brother of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek. Fun fact: The Celek brothers will meet in the regular season, Week 4 at Levi’s® Stadium.

- San Francisco added a pair of promising tight ends as undrafted free agents. Asante Cleveland and Kevin Greene arrived to the 49ers in different ways. Cleveland, a Sacramento native, signed as undrafted rookie following the 2014 NFL Draft. Greene, a former USC Trojan, signed with the club following a successful audition at the team’s rookie minicamp.



If Davis is not around for the start of training camp, which is purely speculation at this point, the 49ers will continue to practice. And when they do, there will have to be someone lining up at tight end.

McDonald will be that player. Davis is entering his ninth-season and fourth with Jim Harbaugh’s coaching staff. McDonald, on the other hand, can continue to improve with more attention from those coaches. The 6-foot-4, 267-pound tight end was used in a variety of roles as a rookie and could be in line for more blocking and receiving opportunities in 2014. McDonald caught eight passes for 119 yards as a rookie.


McDonald averaged 14.9 yards per catch as a rookie… He stepped up and played some fullback in the team’s NFC Divisional Playoff win over the Carolina Panthers… With Mangini as position coach, the 49ers utilized new gauntlet-style drills during offseason workouts… Former 49ers tight ends coach Reggie Davis is now the team’s assistant offensive line coach… Fullback Bruce Miller doubled as an H-back in the 49ers offense last season. The starting fullback caught 25 passes, third-most on the team in the regular season. Will he be that involved in the passing game? It remains to be seen. McDonald is aiming to be more relied on in passing situation.



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