The San Francisco 49ers rookies and first year players reported to training camp on Wednesday. The 49ers will look for impact right away from some of their rookies, while others are part of the developmental process to replace veterans in the coming years. We're running through the 49ers draft picks to figure out some realistic best and worst case scenarios for their rookie seasons. This morning, we took a look at defensive back Jimmie Ward. Now, we move on to the 49ers second round pick, running back Carlos Hyde.
The 49ers have serious depth at running back, but there are enough question marks that drafting a running back was not the worst idea in the world. Frank Gore will be the starting running back, but Hyde will compete with Marcus Lattimore and Kendall Hunter for the backup work. The 49ers will eventually have to replace Gore entirely, and this year could provide a look into the future running back depth chart.
Best Case Scenario
The best case for Hyde likely results in him taking firm control of the bulk of the carries behind Gore. Hyde climbing to the top of the depth chart behind Gore does not necessarily mean that the 49ers got disappointing work from Hunter or Lattimore. Hyde has the skill set to be a strong presence in the backfield, and he very well could just prove to be the best of a very good trio of backups. Such a role would potentially lead to Gore's carry totals slipping considerably, potentially even down below 200 on the season.
Worst Case Scenario
The biggest concern is like that of many big running backs. Can Hyde stay in proper shape to stick around the NFL. The worst case in my mind sees him struggle with weight. If that happens, his rookie year sees him left behind Hunter and Lattimore. His role would likely be something like a short yardage back, but even then, he is left behind by Gore, Hunter, and Lattimore.