Image Credit: Associated Press
Let’s assume for the fact Noah Fant is available at pick 36. Should the 49ers pass on a wide receiver and take Fant instead? Should the 49ers go tight end instead of picking a wide receiver? Many would say why, we have the best tight end in the game in George Kittle. Yes, do not kid yourself into thinking Travis Kelce or even Zach Ertz is a better tight end, they are not. They are both very good tight ends, but they are no Kittle.
I know all 49er fans love Celek Time, but he seemed more like a liability than he was helpful. We have seen what having two good tight ends can do for a team. The Patriots had an amazing offense running two tight ends before Aaron Hernandez decided to kill someone. The tight end can create such a mismatch down the field due to their size and speed. Cornerbacks can’t cover them, and linebackers can’t run with them. We saw Kittle set the record for the most yards in a season by a tight end last season without Jimmy Garoppolo. What could Kyle Shanahan due with two tight ends like Kittle?
How often does Shanahan use two tight ends? According to Sharp Football Stats, the 49ers ran the 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) only 18% of the time. Shanahan ran his offense with two running backs more than he did two tight ends. I said in my article “How Big of a Need is Wide Receiver for the 49ers Heading Into the Draft,” that the 49ers need to draft one with the 36th pick in the draft. I know the 49ers signed Jordan Matthews and he has flashed in the past when healthy. But the 49ers signed him to a one-year deal and I’m not sure if we want to put our faith in Matthews. He can succeed, but will he? It’s a risky move.
Having two tight ends that can streak up the middle and become a mismatch for the defense would be great. Again, we saw the Patriots have success with this formation. But Shanahan doesn’t run the 12 personnel enough in my opinion to draft another tight end in the second round. If George Kittle played for someone else and the tight end was a position of need and Fant was available maybe I might be signing a different toon. But Kittle is a 49er and we need a wide receiver.
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