49ers Rookie Blake Bell Following Same Career Path as Broncos TE Owen Daniels

With the 117th in the NFL Draft, the 49ers selected TE Blake Bell out of Oklahoma

  • In this Monday edition of Niners Daily, we provide a case study for a college quarterback turning into a successful NFL tight end.*

Daniels on Bell

Although it's still a rarity, there is a precedent for what San Francisco 49ers tight end Blake Bell is about to attempt.

Owen Daniels, a tight end for the Denver Broncos, began his college career at Wisconsin as a quarterback – just as Bell did at Oklahoma. 

The parallels between the two converted signal-callers continue, as both players were selected in the fourth round of the draft.

Now entering his 10th NFL season, Daniels is one of the most consistent tight ends in the league. He is a two-time Pro Bowler, and his 433 career receptions rank fifth among active players at his position.

Eric Branch of the *San Francisco Chronicle *recently spoke with Daniels to discuss how he built such a successful career, and if he thinks Bell can do the same with the 49ers. 

Daniels said that while learning to block was the most difficult part of the position change, having prior experience as a quarterback helped him read NFL defenses.

"Just being able to recognize coverages, knowing where to look to get a hint of what might happen – that was all very useful," Daniels said. "Things change faster in the NFL than they do in college, but seeing the defense pre-snap, knowing how it might change, and knowing to make adjustments based on that information on the run … it's been a big help in my career.

"But I think the biggest thing is that it gave me a good overview of what everyone on offense is doing. As a quarterback, you have to know where everyone is on the field and what they're supposed to do on every play. That gives you a grand-scheme-of-things understanding of everything that is going on. Why plays work. What your job should be. It's not necessarily about how to get the ball all the time: It's helped me understand how to run my route so it can open things up for somebody else."

On Aug. 29, the 49ers visit the Broncos for their third preseason game. Will Daniels give Bell any advice when he sees him?

"I'll tell him all my secrets," Daniels said.

"I always see who is coming out at the tight end position and know a little bit about their history. So I know a little bit about the kid. I'm pulling for him. I'm hoping he does well."

Draft Haul

After making a combined 22 picks over the last two drafts, the 49ers will likely once again have plenty of ammunition entering the 2016 NFL Draft.

In addition to its usual pick for each of the seven rounds, San Francisco owns a fifth-round selection from the San Diego Chargers and a sixth-round selection from the Dallas Cowboys. Those two picks were added through trades during this year's draft.

Lastly, according to this ESPN post, the 49ers could receive as many as three compensatory selections, which are given to teams to offset the losses of key free agents.

That would mean the 49ers would have 12 picks to play around with in 2016. "Trader" Trent Baalke certaintly has to like the sound of that.

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