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TE Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers

HT: 6-4, WT: 267, Born: 6-13-1990, College: Rice, Drafted: Round 2

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2014 Projections

David Dodds15.013.016512.71.023
Bob Henry16.04.04010.00.04
Jason Wood16.05.0459.00.05
Maurile Tremblay16.08.09111.41.015

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2014 Schedule

1 Cleveland Browns
2at Baltimore Ravens
3at Carolina Panthers
4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5at Jacksonville Jaguars
6at Cleveland Browns
7 Houston Texans
8 Indianapolis Colts
9 Baltimore Ravens
10at New York Jets
11at Tennessee Titans
Bye week
13 New Orleans Saints
14at Cincinnati Bengals
15at Atlanta Falcons
16 Kansas City Chiefs
17 Cincinnati Bengals
18 Baltimore Ravens

2013 Game Summaries

Week 1 - The rookie from Rice managed to make one big play for the 49ers, catching a pass in the soft middle of the zone defense and going straight upfield, sprinting for a 25-yard gain before anyone could pull him down. For most of the game, McDonald was used as a blocker when he saw the field, allowing Vernon Davis to play in the slot.

Week 2 - Two plays encapsulated McDonald’s day. On a play-action throw to the right, Kaepernick hit McDonald in space. Richard Sherman lowered his shoulder, prepared to plant McDonald. Instead, McDonald lowered his own shoulder and blew through Sherman, stomping over the superb corner as McDonald rumbled for a 19-yard gain. And though that play was a bright spot for the rookie, his inane decision in the 4th quarter to commit a personal foul by giving the defender a shot in the head after the play was done helped the 49ers along to their eventual loss.

Week 3 - With his only catch coming on a short crossing route, McDonald showed that he does not yet have the ability to get away from tight coverage from linebackers and safeties. He did play well in the run game as an effective blocker.

Week 4 - McDonald’s lone catch came on a hook route on the right sideline. The defense played soft coverage, and when McDonald caught the ball the Rams quickly swarmed and took him down for minimal yardage after the catch. In the 3rd quarter, McDonald found himself wide open in the flat but Kaepernick threw the ball behind the tight end.

Week 6 - The big rookie caught a ball from Kaepernick while running the in flat. Though he was able to gain a solid 7-yards while running in space, when he met the defense he was picked up and his back was slammed to the ground. For someone with such size and speed, his tackle-breaking skills certainly failed him.

Week 7 - McDonald’s lone catch was an impressive act of adjustment. With Kaepernick scrambling to the right, McDonald found himself on the same sideline. Kaepernick slung the ball towards McDonald but the defender was able to deflect the pass. On a dime, McDonald readjusted to the changed trajectory and reached back to catch the ball while keeping his feet just barely inbounds. A really impressive show of nimbleness from such a large athlete.

Week 10 - Though he did not record a catch, his run down the seam to get behind the defense allowed Kaepernick to throw a beautifully arched ball right in to the big tight end’s hands. The linebacker had hold of McDonald’s arm and pulled as the ball arrived. With better strength McDonald should have secured such a perfect pass.

Week 11 - Even though his lone catch was an impressive show of catch, turn, and use of size/speed to pummel the oncoming tackler, McDonald’s biggest play came when he dropped a great pass in the seam. Badly needing a long pass to take some of the pressure off, Kaepernick delivered a great ball to McDonald’s gut as the tight end gained position in the seam. The safety was able to tear the ball out from behind, and the long pass fell incomplete. Though the coverage was tight, the pass hit McDonald right in the hands and the tight end’s inability to win that basic battle for the ball did the offense no favors.

Week 12 - McDonald made only one catch, but it was a long one. McDonald ran a wheel route to the sideline while the outside coverage shifted to cover Vernon Davis on the inside. This allowed McDonald to run in to wide open space and Kaepernick delivered an accurate throw for the tight end to finish off the 23-yard play.

Week 16 - A terrible game for the rookie, as McDonald dropped a pass that hit him right in the hands, failed to adjust to pass that was slightly behind him, and most egregiously, fell down without any contact while wide open and the ball on its way.

Week 20 - McDonald had a decent catch and run on a short pass for an early first down, but was not heard from again.