No. 2: 49ers Running Back Jerick McKinnon
There’s plenty of reason to be excited about veteran running back Jerick McKinnon who spent the past two years on injured reserve after suffering a torn ACL at the tail end of the 2018 preseason.
McKinnon was tabbed to be a vital piece to Kyle Shanahan’s offense, at hopefully the last two years recovering have at least allowed the 28-year-old runner to master the schematic details of his role on the field.
On the positive side, McKinnon has been working out with Rischad Whitfield, known as the “Footwork King,” and all signs point to the tailback being recovered.
“The knee is 100 percent…No. 1,” Whitfield said via Fourth and Nine’s Akash Anavarathan. “Jet [Jerick] is in the best shape of his life. I think he’s right around 195 pounds and he’s already blazing fast. We’re talking about a player that can rev his engine up from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds. The versatility that he’s going to bring as a dual-threat running back is huge.”
OK, so why the presumptive struggles?
Without getting too deep into the medical aspects, since that’s not our job, it’s one thing for McKinnon to make footwork work for him. But the part about identifying holes, eluding would-be tackles and such are traits that can be only sharpened with practical field time.
Those OTAs without the pads would have been extremely beneficial for McKinnon as he looks to make his full impact felt for San Francisco.
Simply put, it’ll take him some time to acclimate back.