When Anthony Dixon was selected in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft it seemed like the San Francisco 49ers were going for a big back to use in goal line situations and also to push backup running back Glen Coffee.
Sometimes things don't go the way they are planned in this case Coffee retired at the age of 23. With Michael Robinson as the backup running back by default he still needed a big game against the Indianapolis Colts, so the 49ers had some confidence with him being the back up.
That didn't go so well for Robinson when he fumbled on the first place from scrimmage, but later made up for the fumble by rushing for a touchdown. Robinson ended up carrying the ball five times for 13 yards for a 2.7 yard per carry average.
Since, Coffee retired there was no other running back besides Dixon who got to play a majority of the game and too say that Dixon didn't disappoint is an understatement! He was responsible for a bulk of the yards on the drive that got Robinson his touchdown.
The touchdown drive saw Dixon carry the ball four times for 16 yards and he also caught a pass for eight yards. The next series saw the 49ers get a short field after the defense held on fourth down.
Dixon only touched the ball twice but he contributed 29 total yards he had one catch for 12 yards and one carry for 17 yards, which led to a 49ers field goal just as the first half ended.
On his third series in the game he didn't have much success getting two carries for for yards. The only other play was an incomplete pass and the 49ers were forced to punt.
His fourth series was impressive he didn't make a huge dent in yards he had three carries for 22 yards, one catch for 22 yard, but more importantly showed that he could block a defensive end which led to an eight yard touchdown pass from David Carr to Tony Curtis.
For the fifth series Dixon carried the ball two times for nine yards, but one of his carries, a five yarder was for a touchdown. The touchdown run was impressive and showed why the 49ers were so high on him.
He got the ball a defensive linemen dove at his legs but he easily broke that touchdown he then broke the ball to the outside where a safety had come up to try to tackle him, Dixon just shrugged him off like it was nothing and easily turned the corner for the touchdown.
Dixon in the sixth series for him saw him carry the ball four times for 27 yards and that led to a field goal for the 49ers.
The seventh and final drive was to basically run out the clock when the 49ers got the ball and Dixon carried the ball four times for 17 yards.
In total Dixon had 21 carries, 103 yards, a touchdown, and a 4.9 yard per carry average. For a first preseason game Dixon sure looked good for a sixth round draft choice.
More importantly though is that Dixon showed he can get the tough yards, he showed that he could catch the ball out of the backfield, and even better he showed that he could block.
Although, the 49ers do still need to add another running back for depth. After Dixon's first preseason performance it has become clear that he should be the backup for Frank Gore, not Robinson. It's not to say that Robinson doesn't have value, he's a special teams player who can have on occasion carry or catch.
Looking at Dixon further I think he surprised some 49er fans with his play. I didn't really know what to expect from him and thought that he was more likely to end up as a fullback because of his size.
After watching the first preseason game it has become clear that Dixon can be a running back in the NFL and also play the position well.
Original article found here