After signing Julius Thomas to a huge contract and not seeing it pay high dividends in his first year, many of us were counting on him to up his production in 2016. Although his production did slightly increase, scoring two more touchdowns this year, he still didn’t look comfortable or produce enough explosive plays in Greg Olson’s offense. Thomas looked a little slow on the field. Whether that was due to the types of routes he was running or his fitness remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he should be back for the 2017 season.
Marcedes Lewis had a average season when he was healthy. By no means will he give you 800 yards and 10 touchdowns a year, but he’s a veteran presence in a young locker room who’ll give you 45 yards a game if you regularly involve him. He’s also remained a good blocker at the tail end of his career. Although it was unfortunate he got injured, he did provide a few notable highlights, such as his yearly 40-yard screen in which he hops, jukes, and outruns defenders (see: Bambi).
Ben Koyack had a nice season as a blocking tight end. Although he tore his meniscus early in the season, he rebounded towards the end and was a productive starting tight end. Although regarding as a slightly better blocker than receiver, he showed some nice traits during the final few games to give an indication of where his talent can take him. I was honestly very pleased with him play, given that he was a seventh-round pick. It’ll be interesting to see how he and Neal Sterling will develop during the offseason, because we currently have no young depth apart from those two.
It’ll be interesting to see who steps up.
Is it Thomas, the talented receiving tight end who we know can score, but just hasn’t been either fit or used correctly? Will it be the young guns, Sterling or Koyack? Will Marcedes have a renaissance season?
The tight end position is a bigger question mark than what people think. If they draft a tight end, it’ll be on Day 3, because there are simply bigger needs. Typically, rookie tight ends don’t make an impact in the league right away. The free agent market for tight end is not good either, so if there’s gonna be an upgrade it’ll most likely come from the development of the tight ends we currently have. However with Coughlin, who’s never afraid to trade, nothing is off the table.