The San Francisco 49ers won a wild one over the Chicago Bears due to a variety of reasons, with the Bears own mistakes and Blaine Gabbert's big plays late being high on the list. A little further down the list would be running back Shaun Draughn. He finished the game with 13 rushes for 36 yards and one touchdown, to go along with five receptions for 50 yards.
Draughn has been unable to get past 4.0 yards per carry in his four starts with the 49ers. No runs are created equal, but getting past 4.0 yards per carry is often a good thing. In four starts, Draughn has averaged 3.6, 3.1, 3.4 and 2.8 yards per carry. However, he has proven himself a very capable receiving back in that same stretch. He has been among the team leaders in receptions during that time, catching 22 passes for 163 yards.
Here is one such catch from Sunday:
Another Texas route, this time from Draughn, for a third-down conversion pic.twitter.com/t5OJwhUjOS— David Neumann (@davidneumann_) December 8, 2015
I spoke with Jeff Deeney to get some information from Pro Football Focus about Draughn's work in four starts. First up, his grades:
Next up, a few of PFF's "signature stats":
- If he had the snaps to qualify, he would be at 93.2 pass block efficiency rating which is T-26th out of 60 RBs.
- If he had the snaps to qualify, his 30.5 Elusive Rating would be 38th out of 54 RBs.
- Ranks 27th out of 54 RBs with a 1.46 rec yards/route run
- Drop rate of 0%, one of 7 RBs with 20+ catches without a drop
Draughn is not a bad running back, but he is best suited for a specific role. In the passing game, he has the potentially to be a pretty decent complementary running back. If Carlos Hyde can stay healthy next season, bringing back Draughn could be a smart decision. The team invested in a guy like Reggie Bush, when in reality, Shaun Draughn has done more than I think most of us would have expected from Bush.
Draughn is not a home-run hitter, but he is an effective weapon in the passing game. David Neumann summed it up well:
Shaun Draughn isn’t anything special, but perfect example of why spending all those draft picks on RBs wasn’t a good use of resources— David Neumann (@davidneumann_) December 8, 2015
The 49ers have been investing mid-round picks in running backs for some time now, and they have not found much success. If Carlos Hyde can stay healthy, he likely would pay off well, but other than that, Trent Baalke is seemingly banging his head against the wall over and over again. Maybe Mike Davis works out, maybe he doesn't. But we've reached a point where I would hope Shaun Draughn can teach Baalke and company a lesson. He is a free agent after this season, so it is hard to tell where he ends up next year. He has done good enough work that he might find a decent deal elsewhere. I am hoping he returns to the 49ers.