Over the past month, rumors have circulated that the 49ers are interested in drafting LSU running back Leonard Fournette. The most recent rumor suggested the team ready to move on from 2014 second round pick Carlos Hyde. He has a strong, punishing running style, but injuries have been a problem for him.
On Wednesday, someone told general manager John Lynch about the report, and asked him where Hyde stands right now, and if he has anything to prove during the offseason workout program.
Given the team has a new coaching staff and general manager, it seems obvious to me that virtually anybody on the roster has something to prove. There are very few players that are completely set on the roster. Lynch said as much in his response:
“I know that when I was a player and I went through a couple coaching changes, I think as a player, one of the great things about this league and frankly what drove me to get back into it is that you’re always proving yourself, I think in particular when there’s a new regime. And, I hope Carlos feels that way, but I can also tell you that we’re really high on him and what he might be able to do in this offense. We think he can be a highly productive player, but we’re eager to see. You have these thoughts as to do these skills translate to what we do? He’s a very talented young man and we’re very excited and hopeful just in the interactions we’ve had that he’s come ready to play.”
There’s nothing earth-shattering in his comment. Everybody has something to prove, and I can’t imagine anybody thinks Hyde does not have something to prove to the new coaching staff. He has struggled to stay healthy the past two years. If he deals with injuries again this coming season, I would be surprised if he is on the roster in 2018.
This offseason marks the first time the 49ers can offer contract extensions to players drafted in 2014. There is no reason to think any extensions are coming this offseason given the turnover up top, but Hyde will be someone to watch. And given how deep this year’s running back class is, the 49ers seem intent on adding some significant depth. I would be surprised if they went with a first round pick, but after that, I’d imagine anything is fair game.