In the game of chess, there is always that one piece behind the line of pawns that has the potential to make a difference. As the regular season inches closer and closer, the San Francisco 49ers’ coaching staff have nothing but high expectations for their veteran players and young rookies. Any one of these players can have a breakout season to add to their resumes. One of these players who caught my eye during the preseason is 2013 2nd round draft pick Vance McDonald.
The Rice University product used to play as a wide receiver out of the slot position, and was also an H-back during his college career. However, with his 6’4 frame and weighing at about 270 lbs., the 49ers wanted to transition McDonald into the favorable tight-end position. McDonald has the ability to run exceptional routes, however, his ball security and blocking could definitely improve for the most part. With McDonald’s massive wing-span, would it possible for him to be a legitimate WR threat? His agility and relentless strength could present difficulties for opposing defenses to deal with given McDonald’s admirable versatility.[youtube id="m8NtPYRgpuk" width="600" height="350"]
Even though coach Jim Harbaugh really wanted Stanford’s TE Zach Ertz, his second alternative is certainly showing some promise. He caught a majestic 4 passes for 66 yards in his preseason opener with the Denver Broncos and two passes for 24 yards against the Minnesota Vikings. Let’s not forget the surprising hurdle he made over Vikings S Jamarca Sanford. It will take awhile for McDonald to fill in Delanie Walker’s shoes; nevertheless, the “potential” is undoubtedly there. The leadership and tutoring from Vernon Davis and Garrett Celek will help mold this young man to an exceptional tight end in the future, possibly mirroring the next Rob Gronkowski or Tony Gonzalez.
Dynamically, this 49er offense can give a bit of a headache to many teams in the league, given the fact that they have so many weapons that they can utilize to their advantage. Amongst these weapons, when you add McDonald into the mix don’t “the rich keep getting richer”? Checkmate.