There are many known commodities on the San Francisco 49ers' roster. We know what Carlos Hyde has to offer going forward, even if he doesn't play again this year due to injury. Blaine Gabbert hasn't done anything to make us think he's any different than the guy we already have years of film on. Garrett Celek has emerged as a viable second tight end and that's good to see.
On defense, NaVorro Bowman and Tramaine Brock are solid. Quinton Dial and Ian Williams have both played very well, and Eric Reid has cleaned up his play in recent weeks. Along the offensive line, we pretty much know who is and is not a lost cause.
But there are a couple players who remain question marks, and had I suggested some of these players could play a crucial role in the 49ers' future, you guys might have laughed at me. I wanted to focus on one of those players right now: unheralded running back Shaun Draughn.
Draughn was an undrafted rookie out of North Carolina in 2012, and he played in 16 games for the Kansas City Chiefs, rushing for 233 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He posted a per-carry average of 3.9 yards. In each of the next three years, he took fewer than 20 total carries between the Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers and Cleveland Browns.
Draughn had two carries in five games with the Browns for 10 yards. His only touchdowns for his career came with the Chiefs. He has 272 career receiving yards, which includes 158 yards with the Chiefs, a single yard with the Browns and 113 yards with the 49ers in there games.
Surprisingly, Draughn has been the 49ers' starting running back since Hyde went down with an injury. He hasn't been fantastic, but he hasn't been bad, either. Draughn has 147 yards rushing in three games with the 49ers, and is averaging around 3.5 yards per carry. That's decent, not great, but his ability in the passing game is also worth noting.
I like what I've seen from him, in other words. He runs well, he makes good decisions and if the 49ers think he might have a future with the organization I'd love to see him get more time with the team. He's 27 years old, but he obviously has low wear on the tires.
Over the coming games, I plan on taking a look at a lot of what Draughn does and what his potential is going forward. As far as I can tell, Hyde is the starter of the future and Draughn has an excellent chance of being a backup going forward. What say ya'll?