The San Francisco 49ers may have a nice trio of running backs with Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida and possibly Joe Williams alternating carries. Raheem Mostert is no slouch either, which makes for some nice playmakers in the backfield.
McKinnon is an interesting one, the 49ers signed him to a nice deal in the 2017 free agency which is a bit un-Kyle Shanahan-like. Shanahan, like his father Mike Shanahan, has made a name for himself developing later round backs and using them for great value. Matt Breida is a great example. While McKinnon was a third round pick, he didn’t come cheap in free agency.
49ers running backs coach Robert Turner met with the media during OTAs to go over some of the new additions he gets to coach up in the backfield and the question was how much of a fit McKinnon was in Turner’s system and why Shanahan may have not passed on taking another running back late in the draft, if at all:
“We’ve had success throughout the years [drafting later round RBs and developing them] and obviously in Kyle Shanahan being the head coach’s system. The key is to having the right player. It’s like a marriage, it’s gotta be the perfect fit. He has the all of the physical tools and he’s very coachable and I’ve already mentioned this a few times but he’s competing.“
When asked to elaborate on his physical traits, Turner went into more detail:
“Again, he can run the ball, he can catch the ball, he can pass-block, and he can finish every play. When he breaks level 2, level 3, he has that explosive speed that can separate him from everyone else.”
The interview is brief, but there’s some good stuff on Turner’s extensive background as a coach. I know many were a bit miffed with the departure of Tom Rathman last year, but Turner definitely has the 49ers running backs in good hands.
Here you can watch the interview here. The time stamps are below:
00:00 On McKinnon being a good fit.
01:07 - What you can’t see on film and how to evaluate
01:42 - An attempt at a Frank Gore comparison
02:05 - A tenacity in late-round picks vs early picks
02:57 - His background in coaching