From high-profile additions to NFL journeymen, The Bee provides a primer to the new players jockeying for position in training camp. Get to know the new faces at two position groups each day for both the 49ers and Raiders. Rosters are cut to 75 players Sept. 1 and 53 players Sept. 5. Read Matt Barrows’ in-depth position preview here.
Make no mistake, the 49ers have a starting tight end in Vernon Davis, despite a down year in 2014 from the veteran who’s entering his 10th season.
The 49ers have brought in three young players to add depth to the position while possibly looking for Davis’ future replacement.
Key returners: Vernon Davis, Derek Carrier
Key departures: None
Rory ‘Busta’ Anderson | 6-foot-4 | 246 pounds
Experience: Rookie (South Carolina)
Last year: The senior had 22 catches for 260 yards and a touchdown for the Gamecocks but was hampered with triceps injuries.
The skinny: According to NFL.com, “Anderson’s athleticism and play speed is what NFL teams dream of when looking for tight ends to threaten vertically and create matchup problems underneath. While he needs to add more weight to his frame, Anderson shows the blocking fundamentals to be considered a legitimate combination tight end in the NFL.”
Blake Bell | 6-foot-6 | 252 pounds
Experience: Rookie (Oklahoma)
Last year: Bell played quarterback for the Sooners, completing 60 percent of his passes for 1,648 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also had 16 grabs for 214 yards and four scores.
The skinny: NFL.com says, “Bell was looked over by scouting community during the regular season, but he has flashed sure hands and shown improvement as a blocker and could have an NFL future if a team is willing to be patient with him.”
Xavier Grimble | 6-foot-4 | 261 pounds
Experience: Two years (USC)
Last year: Grimble was not drafted in 2014. He was signed by the New York Giants but later waived. He also spent time on New England’s and the 49ers’ practice squads.
The skinny: Rivals.com called Grimble to the best tight end prospect out of his high school class. In three seasons with the Trojans, he had 67 grabs for 708 yards and 11 scores.