For any regular readers that have been around since last October, this headline probably makes a lot more sense than it does to our more recent members. Last season, the 49ers had running back Kory Sheets, an undrafted free agent out of Purdue, on their practice squad. In early November, Sheets was signed away by the Dolphins. A few weeks later, a user appeared with the user name KORY SHEETS WAS OUR FUTURE. I mention this not to mock, but more as background for this post.
Every year certain players jump out at fans as a guy to watch. Generally these players are a bit lower on the depth chart, and I think part of the excitement comes because they're underdog type players. When the 49ers add anybody to their roster, many of us automatically think of the upside to that signing. KORY SHEETS WAS OUR FUTURE (and yes the name was all caps) embodied that optimistic spirit. I use the past tense because he hasn't been back to the site since December.
If you've checked out the FanPosts since the draft, you'll notice growing movements for some players that could fill this role. Blank x2 started up the Jarrett Brown bandwagon, while the LeRoy Vann fan club appears to be gaining some steam. The Brown bandwagon is particularly interesting because it is now a bandwagon to replace another bandwagon. Nate Davis has his own contingent of fans, some of whom are convinced he's the second coming of Joe Montana. When preseason games get going, I can only imagine the vitriol we could see between the two camps.
The LeRoy Vann bandwagon is arguably the proper successor to the Kory Sheets bandwagon. They play different positions, but they're both relatively limited in what they bring to the table. Both are speedy guys. However, Vann is basically nothing more than a return man, while Sheets apparently can't pass block to save his life. I'm not saying there isn't a role for either of these players, but there's a certain similarity in their limited nature. Now, if as the FanPost suggests, the team were to turn Vann into some kind of scat-back, then I suppose he gains more use. Of course, the very nature of that FanPost is partially what inspires this very post.
So, I'm curious who is your guy this year that you find yourself gung-ho about? If you're still a Nate Davis IOF (is our future) guy, you're more than welcome to continue with that. Generally I think this applies more to undrafted players, but I think a sufficient amount of irrational support for a player can move even a draft pick onto this list. Heck, until recently Jay Moore was my IOF guy. He never made a single regular season contribution to the team, but that didn't stop me from being convinced he would be the next great 49ers pass rush threat.
So, who is your guy? If you aren't sure yet (after all, this kind of irrationality requires in depth research), maybe you have a past player that you always enjoyed even if they never got off the practice squad. Let's consider this a little bit like therapy!