San Francisco 49ers: Predicting 3 players who break out in 2020
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: Running Back Jerick McKinnon
When the 49ers lost then-newly signed running back Jerick McKinnon to a torn ACL towards the end of 2018 training camp, head coach Kyle Shanahan admitted he had to make some serious changes to the team’s offense.
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McKinnon returned for workouts in training camp last year. And by many accounts, he was looking to be the prolific offensive weapon for which Shanahan was hoping the year before. Only McKinnon suffered yet another setback, ultimately landing him on injured reserve for the second year in a row.
Coming off a two-year injury is a concern, yes. But the thought of McKinnon being a dynamic part of Shanahan’s offense is still relevant.
Especially if Shanahan utilizes the soon-to-be 28-year-old running back in the way many thought: a pass-catching tailback with excellent pass-blocking skills.
The Niners have an awfully crowded running back room this offseason already. Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson could all potentially take away snaps from McKinnon, assuming they all make the training camp/regular-season roster. But Shanahan is known for divvying up the workload, and one can easily figure the head coach will want to display his flashy new weapon on offense as much as feasibly possible.
As such, McKinnon could be in line for plenty of touches this upcoming season, putting together a campaign in which the 49ers offense becomes even more prolific on the ground than it was a year ago.