The San Francisco 49ers may have the most loaded backfield in the NFL, thanks in addition to a pair rookies in 2014.
Enter Marcus Lattimore and Carlos Hyde, a pair of running backs who were considered to be the best players at their position during their respective drafts. Lattimore, who hasn’t played a single down since October of 2012, after suffering a gruesome knee injury.
Lattimore fell from the No. 1 consensus running back in the draft in 2013 to a fourth round pick of the 49ers. Re-shirted his 1st year in the league, Lattimore should make his rookie debut sometime in 2014.
Like Lattimore, Carlos Hyde was also the consensus No. 1 overall running back during the 2014 NFL Draft, and like Lattimore, his stock fell. Despite rushing for over 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns during his Senior season, Hyde was selected in the second round, third running back overall. Now the 49ers are looking at a depth chart that reads:
Running backs: Frank Gore, Marcus Lattimore, Kendall Hunter, Carlos Hyde and LaMichael James
We know the story on Gore, and unless something drastic happens, he should be penciled in as the starter come opening kickoff on September 7 in Dallas. Hunter is viewed as Gore’s backup who has the necessary speed to turn the corner on a pitch, and James, who was viewed to be in the Darren Sproles role, is primarily used as a kick returner. Lattimore could compete for the backup role to Gore while Hyde might assume goal line and short yardage duties, much in the same fashion as Anthony Dixon did last season.
San Francisco has a stacked backfield in 2014. They are loaded on offense and with a Super Bowl in mind, Gore could see limited carries for the better good of the team. Last season Gore carried the ball 276 times 1,128 yards while also setting a career low in yards-per-carry at 4.1. Six times Gore got 20+ carries and only twice was he able to break the century mark.
Entering his 10th season, Gore needs to see the football less during the regular season as the 49ers have the depth chart to spread the ball around. The 49ers have prepared to make this their Super Bowl run, no more excuses. They’ve got the team to do it, and they’ve got the backfield to carry the load.