NATE BYHAM DEMARCUS DOBBS
Third tight end -- Nate Byham vs. Demarcus Dobbs
Tale of the tape:
Byham: Third season, 6-4, 265, Pittsburgh
Dobbs: Second season, 6-6, 275, Georgia
Roster Depth Chart More Camp Battles
Byham would have won a spot on the 49ers' 53-man roster last season, but he went down early in training camp with a torn ACL. He rehabbed his way back so that he could participate in the team's offseason program. Byham has deceiving skills as a pass-catcher but his value to the 49ers, in a potential role behind Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker, is as a blocker. The 49ers have a decent crop of young tight ends, but the biggest competition could come from the defensive side of the ball. With roster limits set at 46 for game days, it's possible the 49ers could keep just two true tight ends on the team while using Dobbs for spot duty.
Dobbs is a backup defensive lineman who saw a lot of action during the offseason program at tight end. The 49ers also like to use backup offensive linemen as extra blockers, so there's no reason to keep a "blocking specialist" unless Byham proves he is clearly better than any of the team's other options.