Best rookie seasons in San Francisco 49ers history: No. 5: FB, Roger Craig (1983)
Roger Craig split time in the backfield as a rookie. He came in as a fullback next to starting running back Wendell Tyler—but this was an era when fullbacks were very much involved in the running attack, and Craig matched Tyler with 176 carries; it was a true platoon system.
Craig rushed for 725 yards as a rookie with eight touchdowns, but where he really excelled was in the receiving game. Craig was one of the first true dual-threat running backs in the NFL, one of only two men to have more than 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season, and he showed flashes of that as a rookie.
He caught 48 passes for 427 yards and four more touchdowns and ended up leading the team in both yards from scrimmage and rushing/receiving touchdowns. His high-knee rushing style and soft hands immediately turned heads, though it would be a few years before he earned the starting running back slot.
Even though Frank Gore topped his franchise record for rushing yards, Craig’s still a choice for the top back in 49ers history.