Carlos Hyde is a good running back. Whether or not he can be a great running back is still up for debate, but for now, things are looking fairly positive for him as a starting running back in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers are likely set with him as the starter going forward, but the entire picture behind him is totally wide open.
Jarryd Hayne, Mike Davis, Shaun Draughn, DeJuan Harris and whoever else the 49ers can think of involving are all in the picture. Davis showed absolutely nothing as a rookie to make me think he can be a productive NFL runner but he definitely deserves another shot next season. Draughn and Harris were free agent gold, but it was still a very limited snap count.
I'm not sure there's room on the roster to bring in another rookie to the table, but free agency is certainly a possibility. Nobody outside of Hyde is a stable option, so below I'm going to list all of the free agent running backs below.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Chris Ivory, New York Jets
Reggie Bush, San Francisco 49ers
Doug Martin, Tampa BAy Buccaneers
Bilal Powell, New York Jets
James Starks, Green Bay Packers
Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins
Alfred Morris, Washington
Bobby Rainer, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lance Dunbar, Dallas Cowboys
Stevan Ridley, New York Jets
LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots
Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos
Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings
Chris Polk, Houston Texans
Bernard Pierce, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacquizz Rodgers, Chicago Bears
Fred Jackson, Seattle Seahawks
Jordan Todman, Pittsburgh Steelers
Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts
Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints
Robert Turbin, Dallas Cowboys
Dan Herron, Indianapolis Colts
Pierre Thomas, Washington
Kendall Hunter, New Orleans Saints
Bryce Brown, Seattle Seahawks
Travaris Cadet, New Orleans Saints
Steven Jackson, New England Patriots
That's quite the list, with some intriguing names. I suppose guys like Alfred Morris, Stevan Ridley, Ronnie Hillman and Lamar Miller are all in the "still have potential" list but I'm honestly not sure how likely it is that any of those guys are actually available when free agency opens.
Forte, Martin and Ivory all have upside, but again, all may not be available after all. It's a hard market to suss out with a lot of guys who want to be starters and a bunch of guys who haven't necessarily been great backups over the years. Then again, I'm not certain the 49ers need a "great" backup.
Provided there is no injury concern with Hyde, I'm not sure the 49ers need any of the guys from the list above. What say you?