With the start of training camp about two weeks away, now is the perfect time to look at each of the position groups on the San Francisco 49ers roster and predict who will make the 53-man roster.
On the roster: George Kittle, Ross Dwelley, Charlie Woerner, Troy Fumagalli, Tanner Hudson, Tyler Kroft, Jordan Matthews
Analysis: George Kittle continues to be among the best tight ends in the game. Despite missing three games in 2021, the veteran finished the season with 71 receptions for 910 yards, including a career-high six touchdown grabs.
Kittle’s production could see an upswing this season with Trey Lance taking over at quarterback. Lance targeted his tight ends often while at North Dakota State off play action, a key piece to setting up shot plays in the 49ers offense.
Aside from Kittle, San Francisco tight ends saw little action as Ross Dwelley, and Charlie Woerner combined for only 11 targets last season.
Looking to upgrade the position, San Francisco added veterans Tyler Kroft and Troy Fumagalli to compete with Dwelley and Woerner for roster spots, along with Tanner Hudson and Jordan Matthews. They spent most of last season on the practice squad.
Kroft has proven productivity with 1,024 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns on 101 receptions in 81 games over seven seasons. If he proves himself as a solid run blocker, Kroft will be in a position to make the final roster.
Question marks: Two questions surrounding the tight end position are the health of George Kittle and how many the 49ers will decide to carry on the 53-man roster.
Since his breakout season in 2018, Kittle has struggled to stay healthy. The veteran has missed 13 games over the last three seasons. San Francisco needs Kittle on the field this season if they are to improve upon their NFC Championship game appearance.
Needing depth along other areas of the roster, San Francisco may choose to carry only three tight ends on the initial 53-man roster. The versatility of players such as Kyle Jusczcyk and Jauan Jennings plays into this possibility.
On any given play, Kyle Jusczcyk can be lined up in the backfield, out wide, as a wing, or as a tight end. Meanwhile, Jennings has the size to run all the routes the 49ers ask from their move tight end.
53-man Roster Projection: (3) George Kittle, Ross Dwelley, Tyler Kroft. Tanner Hudson, and Jordan Matthews will end up on the practice squad.