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49ers to sign RB Josh Robinson, according to Josh Robinson

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The 49ers could add a proverbial bowling ball with legs to their training camp roster.

The San Francisco 49ers 90-man roster has been settled for the past month, but it appears we will see a change shortly. Former Mississippi State running back Josh Robinson told a Jackson, Mississippi TV station that he is headed to the Bay Area to sign a free agent deal with the 49ers. And it’s safe to say he’s a little bit excited about it.

Robinson finished his career at MSU in 2014, and was a sixth round pick of the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 NFL Draft. The team wanted to develop him into a backup for Frank Gore, but fumble issues and getting 2.3 yards per carry resulted in him getting released in November. He re-signed to the Colts practice squad, but was not signed after the season. He spent part of 2016 in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but was released before playing in a game.

Robinson had a rough life leading up to his time at Mississippi State. His father remained out of his life until high school, and his mother was in and out of jail. His grandmother raised him, and when she passed away in 2004, he bounced between upwards of 20 homes. He also spent six months in high school living out of his car.

Robinson rushed for 1,203 yards and caught 28 passes for 370 yards in his final season at MSU. Over the course of his career, he averaged 6.2 yards per carry, and was described as a bowling ball runner. He stands just under 5’8, and weighed 217 pounds at the NFL Combine. In fact, his nickname is Bowling Ball, and then Colts head coach Chuck Pagano described him as, “a rolling ball of butcher knives.”

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared him to Mike Tolbert, and the scouting report seems to suggest as much. He is not a guy with a lot of vision, but has a powerful trunk and is a very physical runner. Zierlein offered up these strengths:

Built low to the ground with power trunk and thick bubble. Coils into a ball at contact, making him immune to shoulder and/or forearm blows to tackle. Patient runner. Runs with consistent balance and can maintain it through contact. Flashes lateral agility to escape from the side door and bounce a run wide. Steady threat out of the backfield as pass-catcher. Soft hands to secure the throw and is ready to run after catch. Can chop pass rusher down with his cut blocks.

In his overview of Robinson, Zierlein described him as having a short-striding style that allows him to get to top speed quickly with good short-area footwork, and effective as a pass catcher. However, he says Robinson appears to lack NFL burst, and, “is lacking a differentiating talent from the rest of the backs in this draft.”

The 49ers running back depth chart currently includes Carlos Hyde, Tim Hightower, Joe Williams, Matt Breida, Kapri Bibbs, and Raheem Mostert. At fullback, they have Kyle Juszczyk and Tyler McCloskey. If the 49ers are going to release someone from the backfield, Moster or McCloskey would be the likely candidates.