Quick. What do Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, and Jeff Wilson Jr. have in common?
Answer? All three are active running backs on the 49ers current roster, all three were undrafted out of college, and all three have had success with the 49ers under head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Of course, while Shanahan is the mind behind the overall offensive success in San Francisco, running backs coach Bobby Turner deserves the lions share of the credit. He brings over 25 years of experience coaching the position, and has a long track record of success with backs drafted in the later rounds or not at all.
And if the 49ers decide to continue adding depth to the position, it’s possible that they might look later in the draft or even in post draft free agency. And while we’ve talked about day 2-3 guys like Darrynton Evans, Anthony McFarland, and Joshua Kelley, there’s another back that has remained almost completely anonymous during this years draft process:
Jason Huntley, New Mexico St.
So why would the 49ers have interest in a player that isn’t expected to be drafted in the first six rounds? In a word, speed. Huntley runs a 4.37 40, which puts him in the same class as potential teammates Breida (4.38) and Mostert (4.34).
He’s a bit undersized at 5’9” 193 lbs, but that shouldn’t exclude him from success. Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay is 5’8” 190 lbs and has started his career with back to back 1,000 yard seasons.
Huntley finished his senior season with 1.090 yards rushing, averaging 7.1 per carry. He’s also an accomplished pass catcher, averaging 40 receptions per year over his final three years.
Need special teams value? Huntley was a prolific kick returner, ending his college career with an average of 25.8 yards per return and 5 TD’s.
And yet, chances are you hadn’t heard of Jason Huntley prior to this. And that may seem like a strike against him. But just remember, nobody was talking about Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, or Jeff Wilson Jr. during their draft years either. And Bobby Turner was able to work wonders with them.
Still not convinced? Check out these highlights and let me know what you think in the comments below!
And now onto those links:
Ranking the San Francisco 49ers’ First-Round Picks in the Last Decade (Matt Holder, 49ers WebZone)
49ers had multiple pre-draft conversations with South Alabama RB Tra Minter (David Bonilla, 49ers WebZone)
Why Trey Burton would be great fit with 49ers alongside George Kittle (Brian Witt, NBC Sports)
49ers coach reveals why team passed on Tom Brady in 2000 NFL Draft (Maximo Gonzales, Clutch Points)
49ers Re-Sign Running Back Matt Breida (Doug Williams, NBC Bay Area)
Five red flag players the 49ers should avoid (Jacob Hutchinson, KNBR)
2020 NFL Draft profile: Clemson’s A.J. Terrell intriguing 49ers option (Matt Maiocco, NBC Sports)
NFL draft 2020 profile: Why Trevon Diggs would fit in 49ers’ defense (Jennifer Lee Chan, NBC Sports)