San Francisco’s backfield seems to be in decent shape with current starter Carlos Hyde and veteran addition Tim Hightower. But Hyde’s annual injury issues and Hightower’s age and complementary status say otherwise.
Shanahan enjoys running a two-back system comprised of fast, durable receiving threats. The hands-down best candidate in this year’s draft, in that regard, was undoubtedly Stanford HB Christian McCaffrey. And at one time, he was actually projected to be potentially available at the very top of Round 2.
Those days are long gone and his true worth has come to light.
The reasoning for McCafferey’s fit with the 49ers is still relevant though, even if the Carolina Panthers grabbed him at No. 8 overall. I wrote an in-depth analysis about it some time ago that you can read here.
Kamara is projected in the second round and fits the Shanahan mold. His rushing totals at Tennessee were not spectacular, but he was used more as a receiving threat while never getting more than 20 carries a game. When watching his highlights a few things stand out to me. First is his breakaway speed at the second level.
Kamara has the potential to take it to the house if you dare find yourself behind him. Second, finding the open field to turn on that speed seems to be a problem for him. He doesn’t have the best vision through the crowds, unless he is out to catch the ball his running appears to have him bouncing around off of other bodies too much.
All things considered, Kamara could certainly provide a complimentary role in the 49ers backfield. But I think his projections are just too high. I personally think his value would be at the bottom of Round 3.
Alternatively, Hunt comes across as a little undervalued in all of his projections. This guy owned the Senior Bowl and had an outstanding college career at Toledo. If he were to have played in a larger program, I think he could have been in day-one discussions.
Hunt had monster production at Toledo, finishing his career there with 4,945 yards rushing, 555 yards receiving and 45 touchdowns. The offense ran through Hunt and the competition at the Senior Bowl did not slow him down.
When looking for a running back to fit into Shanahan’s system, the ideal traits that you’re looking for are speed, hands, vision, patience, twitch and fight. After McCaffrey, I believe Hunt checks off more of these boxes more completely than any other prospect in the draft.
His highlight footage speaks for itself. Check it out: