49ers take tight end Blake Bell in 4th round

The 49ers added some depth to the group of tight ends by taking Oklahoma's Blake Bell in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The 49ers added a tight end in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by taking converted quarterback Blake Bell of Oklahoma with the 117th-overall pick.

Bell (6-6, 252) played quarterback his first three years with the Sooners before switching to tight end in his final collegiate season. In 2014 he caught 16 passes for 214 and four touchdowns.

As a quarterback, Bell was nicknamed "The Bell-dozer" for his physical running style and was viewed as a potent dual threat in the red zone. He had 24 touchdown runs in his first two seasons as Oklahoma's quarterback.

The 49ers feel Bell has enough upside at the position to warrant a fourth-round pick, despite having starter Vernon Davis and former second-round pick Vance McDonald entering his third season.

"When you haven't done something for that long (play tight end), it's all about just getting reps and getting used to the switch," Bell said. "Ever since I switched, I haven't looked back. And I'm just excited about it."

Being a former quarterback trying to learn a new position provides a unique perspective. Bell had to know where all his potential targets would be on any given play, and the timing required to complete a pass successfully. In that context, he knows what his quarterback is expecting when it comes to running routes and putting himself in position as a blocker.

"It's kind of one of those things, where you're on the field and running routes and you kind of know when the quarterback is hot, when you need to break it off," Bell said. "I can see the overage, man, zone, what the corner's doing, linebackers, D-ends, stuff like that. It obviously helped."

Bell said he played for one year in high school before playing quarterback for the Sooners. That experienced helped the transition. And having a former NFL tight end as a father contributed as well.

Bell's father, Mark, played both tight end and defensive end in the NFL for the Seahawks and Colts from 1979 and 1984. Bell will compete with former receiver Derek Carrier and blocking tight end Garrett Celek for playing time this summer.

You can find a full scouting report on Bell here.

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