3 second-year 49ers who could make a big jump in 2020

Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Jalen Hurd, 49ers
Jalen Hurd #17 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

No. 3: 49ers Wide Receiver Jalen Hurd

Yes, it’s still premature to think the Niners will get a lot of production out of second-year wide receiver Jalen Hurd, who missed all of his rookie season with a serious back injury. And that injury was serious enough to prevent him from traveling with the team to Miami, Florida for Super Bowl LIV.

Hurd is back practicing now, though, which is a great sign. And despite the fact he has yet to play a regular-season snap at the NFL level, there’s always enough room for hope.

In Hurd’s case, there’s a lot of it. And that prompted Kyle Shanahan to use a third-round pick on him. Round 3 isn’t the round for fliers.

Unlike most of Kyle Shanahan’s wide receivers, Hurd’s 6-foot-4 frame puts him at the upper echelon in terms of height. San Francisco has long lacked a tall go-to target at this position in the red zone, and Hurd’s running back pedigree from the University of Tennessee helps prompt the notion he can run angry with the ball in his hands — vital for those short-area red-zone situations.

True, Hurd is raw and is still learning the position. But what little fans saw of him in the 2019 preseason, which included two touchdown scores against the Dallas Cowboys, was promising enough.

The Niners are seeking that complementary No. 2 option to Deebo Samuel. And while Hurd might not be that guy, he could easily find himself a quality niche role within the 49ers offense in 2019.