Carrier could be poised for bigger role

The key for long-term success in the NFL is to have a backup plan.

Always have someone waiting in the wings.

The 49ers might have that player in Derek Carrier. The young tight end could have an increased role this season if Vernon Davis continues his holdout. Even if Davis rejoins the team by September, Carrier is a name to remember. Davis is 30 and has two years left on his contract. He won’t be around forever.

Carrier is a similar type of player as Davis. He is 6-foot-4, 241 pounds and is highly athletic. He can run a 4.5 40-yard dash and is very strong. He has the potential to become a field-stretching player in the mold of Davis.

Of course, Carrier, who played sparingly last year, still has a long way to go. The former basketball player from Division III Beloit College in Wisconsin was on the practice squad for Oakland and Philadelphia before sticking with the 49ers.

“Derek Carrier is a very interesting guy,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “He’s kind of a hybrid athletic tight end who has put on some weight, gotten bigger.”

Don’t be surprised, before too long, if Carrier’s role with the 49ers gets bigger as well.