No. 4: 49ers Wide Receiver Jalen Hurd
There’s a cult-like following among the Niners fanbase for third-year wide receiver Jalen Hurd, and it’s hard to understand why.
Sure, Hurd looked promising enough during his limited appearances in the preseason during his 2019 rookie year. But the third-round draft pick missed all of that year’s regular-season campaign with a serious back injury before suffering a torn ACL that sidelined him for the entirety of 2020.
Yes, San Francisco was banking on Hurd’s sizable 6-foot-3 frame to become a tough, physical presence amid a wide receiver room that was generally on the shorter side of things. But considering Hurd has yet to take a regular-season snap during his NFL career, it’s probably a safe bet to assume the 49ers have run out of patience with his injury history.
On top of that, Hurd played only one year at the position at the college level after transferring from Tennessee where he was a running back. From an experience standpoint, Hurd is still a project at wide receiver and still has a long ways to go to prove he can effectively run routes and master the nuances of the position within head coach Kyle Shanahan’s complex offense.
While the Niners still have an array of question marks this offseason surrounding their wide receiving depth, they’ll probably cut bait with Hurd after two disappointing injury-riddled years and instead focus on promoting someone with more experience and a better track record of health at the position.