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Can Alfred Morris stake a claim on the 49ers running back depth chart?

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He knows the offense, now we’ll wait and see if he can supplant some of the younger players.

The San Francisco 49ers released their preseason Week 2 depth chart on Monday, and it remains the same as a week ago. It’s unofficial, put together by the team’s PR staff based primarily on their observations throughout camp, but it’s a starting point for some semblance of discussion.

There are plenty of ways this depth chart is likely inaccurate, but it also became outdated fairly quickly. The 49ers released the depth chart in their weekly game release at 10:27 a.m. PT. Two hours later, head coach Kyle Shanahan announced that the team was planning on signing running back Alfred Morris once he passes his physical.

The team is signing Morris to provide depth following the injury absences of Jerick McKinnon (calf strain — will be re-evaluated next week) and Matt Breida (shoulder — likely out until Week 1 of the regular season). Fourth year player Raheem Mostert, second year players Joe Williams and Jeremy McNichols, and rookie Jeff Wilson were the only running backs left on the depth chart prior to this news, so it makes sense to add a body. But it also raises some questions about the depth chart and what Alfred Morris might be able to do heading into roster cuts later this month.

McKinnon and Breida are dealing with injuries that are expected to heal for the start of the year, but there is the concern of aggravating them. Morris understands Shanahan’s system and can likely jump right in and get reps without too many issues. But does he have a legitimate shot of earning a roster spot? When asked about what assurances Shanahan could give Morris, the 49ers head coach said the following:

“I just told him I waited so long to invite him because I wouldn’t invite him unless I believed he had the chance to make the team. I do believe he has the chance to make the team here, and that’s all Alf wants. He wants a chance to compete and I think with some of these injuries that we’ve had, now he does have a chance to compete. So, he’s getting in late but we’ll see how he does over these next few weeks. If he’s running the same way he always has, he’ll have a chance.”

The 49ers are getting closer to contending for the playoffs, but the rebuilding process might be a year away from being a serious contender. If McKinnon or Breida might be unavailable when Week 1 arrives, Morris definitely has a shot. But if McKinnon and Breida are good to go when the season starts, would it make sense for Morris to get a job over Mostert and/or Williams? Mostert brings special teams skills, which Morris does not. But would they also be prepared to give up on Williams for a veteran who will turn 30 this season?

So, without a single practice rep under his belt, what do you think happens with Alfred Morris? Will he earn a roster spot, or will he be cut at or before the end of training camp? If you don’t see the poll below, click here.

Poll

Will Alfred Morris make the 49ers 53-man roster at the end of training camp?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Yes
    (748 votes)
  • 47%
    No
    (666 votes)
1414 votes total Vote Now