The San Francisco 49ers are electing to not offer a restricted free agent tender to running back DuJuan Harris, leaving them with next to nothing behind Carlos Hyde. Shaun Draughn is also a free agent, leaving Mike Davis and Raheem Mostert as their only backups.
The team is going to add running backs to the depth chart, but Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller decided to go big in his latest 2017 NFL mock draft. Miller has Myles Garrett going No. 1 to the Cleveland Browns, and then has the 49ers selecting LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Miller previously had Reuben Foster as the pick, but he dropped him to No. 9 in light of his dismissal from the NFL Combine.
Miller acknowledged that trading for Kirk Cousins is still possible, but with Foster’s question marks, Fournette becomes the best player on the board. Here’s what he had to say about the pick.
Quarterback is a gigantic need here, but the way I hear it the 49ers don't currently value the quarterbacks in this class as top picks. That could change as the team spends more time getting to know the top passers, but based on now, Leonard Fournette is the top player on the board.
Fournette won't answer every question mark on the 49ers offense, but he's a dynamic, generational talent at the running back position. And in Kyle Shanahan's scheme, Fournette can be a 1,500-yard back, given his explosion.
Carlos Hyde is only signed for one more year, so the team needs to think about its options. And even if they do extend him, Kyle Shanahan’s time in Atlanta shows the value of having two high quality running backs. The 49ers have needs up and down the roster, but adding Fournette would put the 49ers in position to have one of the best pair of running backs in football.
The defense clearly needs some help, and this is viewed as a defensive-heavy draft. Someone like Malik Hooker or Jonathan Allen would not be out of the realm of possible options. And yet, if the 49ers decide Fournette is clearly the best option on their draft board by a sizable margin, this could very well make sense.