The San Francisco 49ers are doing plenty of work to find running backs to complement Carlos Hyde this season, and they are going further down the rabbit hole. ESPN’s New York Giants reporter Jordan Ranaan is reporting the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks both have private workouts set for New Hampshire running back Dalton Crossan.
Fooch’s update: The workout already happened, according to Ranaan.
Crossan is from Long Island originally, and will be taking part in the Giants local Pro Day. Crossan was a big-time lacrosse player in high school, and had a chance to attend either Michigan or Notre Dame on a lacrosse scholarship. He said his heart was in football in spite of a lack of offers, and so he went to FCS New Hampshire.
He did not get into the starting lineup until his junior year, but he offered intriguing production throughout his college career. As a redshirt freshman, he rushed 32 times for 385 yards, and had 12 receptions for 118 yards. He missed the first eight games of his sophomore season due to a hamstring injury. In his junior year, he rushed 172 times for 885 yards, and had 46 receptions for 341 yards. His senior season saw him rush for 1,281 yards and catch 42 passes for 266 yards. He had 30 total touchdowns between his junior and senior seasons.
Crossan has gotten Chris Hogan comparisons, but also said he has gotten some Julian Edelam comparisons (insert white football player joke).
“I feel like I’m very similar to Julian Edelman, but I can also run the ball out of the backfield. I think I’m a little bit bigger than he is weight-wise, and obviously, I’m very comfortable doing a lot of running back stuff, whether it’s picking up a blitz or running off-tackle, running outside, whatever it is. But then I also can line up in the slot and have great hands and do all that type of stuff too.”
He later mentioned David Johnson as someone he sees in himself given his receiving ability. He told FOX Sports (second link from top) that his lacrosse playing helped him with route-running and making his man miss him in the open field.
If you want a comparison for this draft, Christian McCaffrey makes some sense. Both are approximately 5’11, with Crossan weighing 205 pounds at his Pro Day and McCaffrey weighing 202 pounds at the Combine. Both are viewed as versatile threats in running and receiving, and both have done return work. McCaffrey seems slightly faster with an edge in the 40 and 3-cone drills, while Crossan has the edge in strength, with 21 reps on the bench press to McCaffrey’s 10.
While McCaffrey is expected to go in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Crossan seems more likely to sign as a UDFA. Of course, all it takes is one team liking him to spend a late round pick. But either way, Crossan could be a poor man’s McCaffrey in terms of draft comps. Or, a very, very poor man’s David Johnson.