With the 55th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers selected tight end Vance McDonald from Rice University. McDonald is SB Nation's No. 9 rated tight end in the 2013 draft class and SB Nation's Dan Kadar rates him as the No. 131 overall player in this year's draft.
McDonald was most often used as a slot receiver at Rice, totaling 36 receptions for 458 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games as a senior. He has good athleticism, long arms and is an experienced route runner. His build suggests that he could be an excellent blocker, but he was rarely used along the line at Rice. As a result he doesn't have much blocking experience. He had some problems with drops throughout his college career as well.
Using one of their two second-round selections, the Niners looked to add another weapon for Colin Kaepernick, and a player who can allow the offense to use multiple tight end sets. He's a big, sure-handed pass catcher who has an ability to make waves in the run game by blocking for Frank Gore.
While McDonald was taken with an early pick, he wont be asked to do too much. Vernon Davis is the incumbent starter, but they can use the Rice TE as a change of pace. It adds a new dimension to the offense, and a much-needed safety net for Kaepernick.
Height: 6'4 1/8
Weight: 267 pounds
Hand size: 10 1/8 inches
Arm length: 34 3/8 inches
40-yard dash: 4.69 seconds
Vertical jump: 33.5 inches
Broad jump: 9'11
Bench press: 31 reps
3-cone drill: 7.08 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.53 seconds
It will be interesting to see how McDonald develops in the NFL. His combination of 31 reps on the bench press and his long arms indicate the building blocks are there to make him an effective blocker, but he doesn't have experience blocking on the line due to his role at Rice. He will start out as a vertical receiving threat.