San Francisco 49ers: 6 Remaining Storylines to Watch This Offseason
Can Jarryd Hayne keep a spot on the roster?
Jarryd Hayne’s presence on the 49ers’ roster in 2015 was one of the more intriuging storylines surrounding the team last season. However, the consensus is that the former Australian rugby league star was not used correctly by former head coach Jim Tomsula.
Hayne was cut and sent down to the 49ers’ practice squad before the Week 8 loss to the then St. Louis Rams but was restored to the active roster towards the end of the campaign. And, after being afforded limited opportunities to make an impact on offense, Hayne will be looking for more of a chance from new coach Chip Kelly in 2016.
Indeed, Hayne was given just 17 carries and targeted only seven times in the passing game last term but Kelly figures to have more of an appreciation for and understanding of how to use the running back’s skill set.
Kelly, per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area, has already been keen to praise Hayne’s range of abilities.
"I think it’s pretty amazing just because I know how difficult this game is, and to not have any background in it and then to be able to play at its highest level is really a credit to him [Hayne] in terms of what type of athlete he is. He’s one of those guys, you get really excited to see what he can do and what type of jump he can make in Year 2 with a better understanding of how the game is played. But he certainly has a skill set that’s intriguing."
It is no surprise Kelly is excited by the prospect of working with Hayne, who has impressive speed for a man of his size and knows how to make people miss in traffic as a result of his rugby background.
With a season in the NFL under his belt, Hayne should be able to showcase improvement in his second year in the league, however, even with a more innovative offensive coach at the helm, it is debatable whether he will get the opportunity to demonstrate what he can do in his sophomore campaign.
Behind starter Carlos Hyde, Hayne will have to compete with Shaun Draughn, DuJuan Harris, Mike Davis and rookie Kelvin Taylor for a roster spot, with his value as a kick and punt returner lessened by Bruce Ellington’s ability to fulfil that role effectively.
All of that quartet have the advantage of having grown up playing the game and Hayne will have to catch the eye to a considerable extent to grab one of three or four spots on the tailback depth chart and maintain his place on the active roster.
Next: The battle for O-line roster spots