The San Francisco 49ers’ three-headed monster of Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James is considered the deepest in the NFL, according to NFL.com.
Dan Hanzus of NFL.com’s Around the League blog believes that the three-headed monster and the depth behind them is better than anyone else’s in the league, even with Gore hitting the vaunted 30-year old mark.
Gore at age 30 remains highly productive, but the 49ers have planned for his eventual departure with a packed stable of backs. Hunter is coming off Achilles surgery but remains a strong bet to keep the No. 2 spot if he’s healthy come September. James completes coordinator Greg Roman’s three-headed monster in the backfield
Not many running backs have been able to maintain their excellence past the age of 30, but Gore has been able to defy the odds his whole career. Widely believed a first-round talent, Gore fell to the third-round in 2005 because of knee and shoulder injuries that brought up red flags to NFL Front Offices.
Gore is backed up by two of the better change of pace running backs in the NFL in Hunter and James. Hunter, as Hanzus mentions, is coming off an Achilles injury that ended his 2012 season. Hunter is small (5’7), but has great vision and toughness and is an asset in the passing game. James benefitted from “redshirting” most of his rookie year until the 49ers needed him after Hunter’s injury. James had fresh legs when the 49ers really needed him late in the year and in the playoffs and he brought his read-option prowess from the University of Oregon to the Niners.
San Francisco also has short-yardage back Anthony Dixon and up-and-comer Jewel Hampton on the roster as they compete in Training Camp. Also, the 49ers used a fourth-round compensatory pick on another first-round talent that has had injury troubles, Marcus Lattimore – who should be a factor in 2014 when Gore is another year older.
Hanzus remaining deepest backfields also includes: Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers.
Where do you rank the 49ers backfield against the rest of the NFL?