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Will the 49ers draft a running back this year?

Trent Baalke sure loves his RBs. Will he bring in another in the draft?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, Fooch took a look at Reggie Bush's new contract numbers, concluding that the contract could be worth as much as $2.5 million for the year. That strikes me as a sizable chunk for a player of Bush's talent level and age. As a consequence, I imagine that the San Francisco 49ers are probably done with the running back position in free agency. It wouldn't surprise me if Trent Baalke did sign another back, but with Carlos Hyde, Kendall Hunter and Reggie Bush, the 49ers are looking pretty good at the position. Indeed, if the 49ers spend much more money on the position, then it might have made sense for them to stay in the Frank Gore sweepstakes a bit longer.

This means that if Baalke wants to add another RB, it would likely be in the draft. So, I am posing a question for discussion: will Baalke draft another RB? I'll put my name down in the "it's highly likely" camp. To whit: the last four years, Baalke has drafted a RB in what I will call the early (rounds 1-2) or middle (rounds 3-4) rounds. In 2014, he drafted Carlos Hyde in the second round; 2013 saw Marcus Lattimore selected in the fourth round; in 2012 Baalke took LaMichael James in the second round; and, in 2011 Kendall Hunter joined the team in the fourth round. Baalke's RB drafting habits are ... oddly symmetrical. If we go on history alone, then Baalke drafting pattern suggests that he will take a RB in the fourth round this draft.

While it might be a bit foolish to let this bizarre pattern dictate what will happen in the draft, I don't think it is a stretch to argue that Baalke will use a early or middle round pick on a RB. Middle is where I would put my money simply because the team has too many defensive holes (see: retirements) to not be using the first and second round on positions like LB, CB, or maybe even DL. So, a RB in the third or fourth round seems likely.

This would also jive with Baalke's odd comment way back in Jim Tomsula's first press conference in which he asserted rather decidedly that the 49ers would run the ball. After making that point, Baalke went on to sign WR Torrey Smith, Reggie Bush (who is basically a WR that lines up in the backfield), and not bring back Frank Gore. The moves so far suggest a passing attack.

So, what do you all think? Should we expect a RB in the draft? Or, do you think that Baalke is going to sit pat on the position? And, if we do draft a RB, in what round? Early, middle, late, or UDFA?