The San Francisco 49ers have hosted Penn State tight end Brett Brackett for a private workout. With Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker and Nate Byham on the roster, and Davis fresh off signing a five-year contract extension, one can only wonder if they have other plans for Brackett.
The 49ers' two current starting WRs are shorter than 6'2", and the only WR currently on the roster that is 6'3" or taller is Dominique Ziegler, who battled injuries last year after his first campaign of besting the practice squad for a roster spot.
Having a tall, physical receiver is key in developing a young QB, and even the likes of Alex Smith posted a 113.8 QB rating for 2010 when targeting the 49ers' tallest starting pass catcher in Vernon Davis.
In 2010 at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh used freshman TE Zach Ertz, who is listed as the same size as Brackett, in short yardage situations. Ertz only had 16 catches all year, but five went for TDs.
The 6'6", 247-pound Brackett played WR at Penn State, along side another 6'5" WR in Derek Moye. Moye, a freshman, lead the team in receiving yards and TDs. I don't think it's a coincidence Joe Paterno chose two very tall, capable WRs to assist in the early development of freshman QB Robert Bolden.
Bracket caught 39 passes in 2010, for 525 yards and 5 TDs, and more than makes up for his 4.57 average combine 40 time with his size and 34.5" vertical jump.
With Harbaugh and his staff from Stanford at the helm, we will likely see fewer two-tight end sets in favor of a fullback. The 49ers will either have Alex Smith starting under center next year, or a player that is new to the offense.
I don't see any tight ends on San Francisco's roster that would lose any sleep if the 49ers used a late round pick on Brackett. However, I could think of at least two receivers for whom the same would not be true.