The San Francisco 49ers answered the wishes of a lot of fans this weekend by promoting rookie Jarryd Hayne to the 53-man roster. The 49ers will release their 46-man active roster at 8:30 a.m. PT, and at that point we'll find out if he is going to at least get an opportunity against the Detroit Lions.
Given the 49ers limited running back depth, odds are pretty good he will be active for the game. The question then becomes what his role will entail. Will he be primarily a special teamer in coverage roles? Will he get some chances to return kicks or punts? Will he get chances out of the backfield?
The 49ers have not exactly impressed us with their lineup decision-making on a regular basis, so it's not exactly predictable. If Kendall Gaskins and DuJuan Harris do not get hurt, I would not anticipate seeing a lot of Hayne in the backfield. I could see him potentially in some passing situations, but I have a hunch not much else. As for special teams, I could see him in some of the coverage units, but I suspect Bruce Ellington is the return man.
All this is to say, it would not surprise me if he was promoted as insurance, and thus the 49ers do not actually fully utilize him unless actually forced into such a situation.