49ers grab blocking TE with 6th-round pick (No. 182)

The 49ers came back with their second pick in the sixth round to select tight end Nate Byham of Pitt. He’s 6-4, 265 pounds and considered a blocking specialist.

The 49ers took Bear Pascoe of Fresno State late in the draft last year. That did not pan out, as the 49ers dropped him at the end of the exhibition season and did not re-sign him to the practice squad.


As a senior, Byham started 12 games and made just 10 catches for 108 yards. He is a blocker. And that’s all he’s going to be with the 49ers, as he compete against Joe Jon Finley and Tony Curtis for the possible No. 3 spot behind Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker.


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Byham is not the kind of tight end who wants to catch passes and grab the glory. He’s a hard-nosed player who wants to soften the noses of defenders, he says.


“I like to bloody noses,” he said. “I don’t shy away from contact. I go into the hole to hit somebody. I’m trying to inflict pain. I’m not just there to get in somebody’s way.”


Byham said he’s played the old-school style of football throughout his life – being on teams that rely on good defenses and power running games. It’s been a difficult upbringing. He was raised by his grandfather Ron Byham. He has never met his father and his mother has battled drug and alcohol addiction, he said.


He shared this moment, getting drafted by the 49ers, at his girlfriend’s home outside of Pittsburgh with his grandfather at his side. This is a huge week for Byham. He has finals Tuesday and Wednesday and will graduate from Pitt with a degree in communications and rhetoric. His minor is computer science.


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Byham played in a golf tournament recently with former Pitt teammate Scott McKillop. He lifted weights three days ago with Shawntae Spencer, he said.


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