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John Lynch on 49ers receiver Jalen Hurd: ‘The vision for him hasn’t changed’

NBC’s Peter King thought Hurd would win Offensive Rookie of the Year after seeing him during the 2019 training camp.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers will go into the 2020 NFL season with a very young receiving group. After veteran Emmanuel Sanders signed with the New Orleans Saints in NFL free agency, the team is left with Deebo Samuel, rookie Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd as potential impact pass catchers.

Hurd missed all of 2019 with a back injury, effectively turning his rookie year into a redshirt season.

Lynch spoke to several media outlets yesterday, including joining Peter King’s podcast.

The two began discussing Hurd during the episode, and NBC’s King revealed he was expecting big things from the receiver.

“I walked out of that camp, and we got in the car to go to the next place,” King said to Lynch. “The two women I was traveling with said, ‘Well, what was your impression?’ I said, ‘We just saw the 2019 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.’ [Hurd] is going to come out of nowhere. He’s going to be fantastic.”

Hurd flashed what he could do when he caught three passes for 31 yards and two touchdowns in San Francisco’s preseason opener against Dallas, but never got on the field during the regular season.

“Well, he had a good redshirt year, now, he’s got to go do it.” Lynch said. “Our belief hasn’t changed. We’ve seen him for 14 days on the field — and I agree with you — you can make a case he was the best player on the field for those 14 days.”

Lynch stressed the biggest ability a player can have is availability. He added that Hurd came close to joining the team on a few occasions in 2019, but the Baylor product’s back would flare up just as he looked ready.

Hurd’s versatility is a big reason Shanahan and Lynch selected him in the third-round. The 24-year-old began his NCAA career as a running back at Tennessee, before transferring to Baylor where he made the move to receiver. Shanahan prefers players who have multiple skillsets, so expect the coach to use him in all sorts of situations next season.

“That vision for him hasn’t changed,” Lynch added. “Now he’s just got to go do it and be available. We almost look at him as another draft choice this year.”

What are you looking for Hurd to bring to the 49ers in 2020?