Revisiting the 49ers' Decision to Go with Vance McDonald over Delanie Walker

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Revisiting the 49ers' Decision to Go with Vance McDonald over Delanie Walker
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Did Bill Belichick make a mistake by allowing Wes Welker to leave his New England Patriots umbrella and go to the Denver Broncos? Were the Indianapolis Colts a bit impulsive and perhaps misguided by trading for Trent Richardson? Was it smart of the Baltimore Ravens to ship Anquan Boldin out?

With people harboring over personnel-related questions like these, re-evaluating the situations after the fact, it goes to show what interests NFL fans and the mentality that comes with following such a competitive league. It’s not about what you’re doing right, it’s about what you’re doing wrong.

Every move—or refusal to make a move—is magnified and dissected. 

Now, over in San Francisco, there is a 49ers team that has undergone fairly substantial personnel change and has been hurting on offense. People have been looking for answers and have found solace by blaming the quarterback, the offensive scheme and a multitude of injuries.

While that is all true to a degree, it is fair to assume that a lot of little under-the-radar moves have also played a factor.

One dynamic that has probably been ignored is that many of the supporting role players that have been there over the years are either no longer in the building or not getting involved on game day. Offensively, the most notable of which is the departure of tight end Delanie Walker.

The 49ers consciously made a decision to save themselves another high-paying contract while revamping the tight end position for the future, going with Vance McDonald from Rice in the NFL draft. With this being the marquee transitional move the team engaged in, it is time to check up on its status, evaluating the decision and how it pertains to 2013 and beyond.

*Considering there’s been a lot of variable change from 2012 to 2013, the final rankings in each category account for parity. It would be unreasonable to compare a proven veteran to a rookie learning the ropes and expect their respective games to be on the same plateau in every facet.

Statistics are courtesy of ESPN.com and Pro Football Focus, unless specified otherwise.

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