SF 49ers: 9 young players who should shine in 2021
SF 49ers WR Jalen Hurd
It is not fair or reasonable to expect anything out of wide receiver Jalen Hurd anymore. Injuries have derailed his career before it could start in earnest. The SF 49ers should be expecting nothing out of the former third-round pick.
More from Niner Noise
- Predicting 49ers NFL Draft picks by looking at final mocks
- DraftKings NFL Draft Promo – Win $150 Guaranteed on Any $5 Bet
- 2023 NFL Draft: EDGE Byron Young could be impact player for 49ers
- 5 low-key NFL Draft options for 49ers who are flying under the radar
- Updated 49ers salary cap space ahead of 2023 NFL Draft
But that doesn’t mean the prospect of Hurd healthy isn’t something to salivate over. The biggest obstacle for any shining moment or semi-star turn for Hurd is his health and his basic development. Though he’d be a third-year player, he’d be essentially a rookie when finally active. If he manages to stay healthy, that’s still a considerable barrier to overcome.
But the sheer capabilities of Hurd have me convinced he would become a vital cog of the offense if healthy. Several actions done by the SF 49ers, including Deebo Samuel’s Deadpool package (his WR runs or quick passes), the two to three tight end sets for passes, the use of fullback Kyle Juszcyck out wide, and many other quirks that take advantage of a versatile array of offensive pieces, would be run in far more unique and interesting ways.
A good comparison would be the performance of Steelers rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool. Though Claypool is a better receiver than Hurd and represents an extremely high end for production, Hurd is a better F-back (fullback/tight end) and would provide more versatility. He would add an additional component to an offense designed to have so many capabilities a defense cannot stop them all.
There are a lot of players on this list, and some of them have much higher ceilings or floors than others. But the underlying truth for all of them is that for the Niners to have any sense of consistent growth, they need multiple players to take steps in development and become more than just depth.
They have tremendous depth as it stands, but for the SF 49ers, they could go from good to great or even great to incredible if their young ones continue their ascension.