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49ers host a pair of running backs on a pre-draft visit

UNC’s Ty Chandler and Oklahoma State’s Jaylen Warren as potential Day 3 draft targets

NFL Combine Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Aaron Wilson reported the 49ers hosted North Carolina running back Ty Chandler on a pre-draft visit. San Francisco continues to look at potential Day 3 running backs that can give them production out of the backfield.

Chandler, 5’11”, 204 pounds, ran a blazing 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Some players run fast but don’t play to their timed speed. That’s not the case for Chandler:

Chandler is decisive. Outside of his vision and speed, that’s the reason the 49ers are attracted to him. He puts his foot in the ground and gets north and south.

Chandler finished third among all running backs in the draft in yards after contact per attempt. Add that to knowing where to be in pass protection and being comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield, and it’s easy to see why the Niners are interested in Chandler.

Jordan Schultz tweeted the Niners also hosted Oklahoma State running back Jaylen Warren on a pre-draft visit Tuesday. Warren is the fourth running back the team has hosted during this draft cycle.

Warren, 5’8”, 204 pounds, ran a 4.55 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. Like Chandler, he’s a fifth-year senior. Warren won’t impress with measurables such as long speed or power, but he’s a “Steady Eddie” type of back who can make you miss, runs with good pad level, and always seems to find the right holes at Oklahoma State.

The difference between Warren and Chandler in the passing game was Chandler caught passes down the field, whereas Warren was basically an outlet out of the backfield who was relegated to catching screen passes. He has the upper hand in pass protection, though.

The closer we get to the draft, the more likely it seems San Francisco plans on drafting a running back. And based on injuries to Elijah Mitchell and the uncertainty of Trey Sermon after an underwhelming rookie year, it’s easy to see why.