49ers roster 2021: Does JaMycal Hasty survive cuts?

JaMycal Hasty #38 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
JaMycal Hasty #38 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Earlier this offseason, 49ers second-year running back JaMycal Hasty looked like he wouldn’t make the cut, but that could now change heading into 2021.

Few undrafted rookies garnered as much excitement for the San Francisco 49ers in 2020 than former Baylor running back JaMycal Hasty, who epitomized the traditional scatback and figured to play an integral niche role in head coach Kyle Shanahan during his rookie season.

Despite failing to make the 53-man roster right out of the gate in 2020, thanks largely to an already-crowded running back room, the Niners nevertheless promoted Hasty to the active roster in late September, and Hasty would go on to contribute to Shanahan’s offense on the ground and through the air over the course of eight games.

And while Hasty’s overall rushing and receiving totals weren’t necessarily eye-popping, there were certainly signs of excitement:

JaMycal Hasty Rushing & Receiving Table

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com
Generated 6/23/2021.

In mid November, Hasty’s rookie season came to a crashing end when he suffered a torn ACL against the New Orleans Saints.

That alone put his status for the start of 2021 in doubt, and his roster chances looked even bleaker following San Francisco’s offseason additions of running backs Wayne Gallman, Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell despite bidding farewell to two other veteran runners, Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon.

Yet Hasty managed to get himself back on the practice field despite the injury, and he could wind up assuming a depth spot on the roster this season despite the earlier odds stacked against him.

Why JaMycal Hasty improves with 49ers in 2021

At 5-foot-9 and 205 pounds, Hasty has always made for a tough tackle, including his days in college where he used his one-cut abilities to a great extent. And while his 3.8 yards-per-carry average in 2020 isn’t necessarily great, the elusiveness was certainly visible.

Read More: Predicting 49ers running back depth chart after NFL Draft

But what made Hasty stand out, both in 2020 and also at Baylor, is the fact he serves as a reliable pass-catching back. He had 79 receptions for 485 yards over four seasons with the Bears, and his seven receptions last year suggests Shanahan won’t hesitate to use him in such a way again.

Especially if Hasty winds up getting a bit more attention this year.

Why JaMycal Hasty flames out with 49ers in 2021

That lone fumble from last year won’t sit well with Shanahan, as the head coach has often put offensive players in his proverbial doghouse because of fumbling issues.

On top of that, and in spite of Coleman and McKinnon being gone, it’ll be tough for Hasty to net a good deal of touches with other new faces like Sermon, Mitchell and Gallman in the mix. Those three are Hasty’s primary competitors for one of the three depth spots likely behind the presumed starter, Raheem Mostert this season.

And it’s just as easily plausible to see Hasty as little more than a competition piece for Mitchell, the 49ers’ seventh-round draft addition from this year.

Chances of making 49ers’ 53-man roster

Like Hasty, Mitchell is also a well-known pass-catching tailback but with noticeably better speed. From a pure production standpoint, it would make sense if the Niners went with the 2021 rookie instead of Hasty, meaning the latter is squarely on the roster bubble.

Yet Hasty’s chances improved a lot in the wake of veteran running back Jeff Wilson Jr. suffering a torn meniscus, which will sideline him at least four months and into the regular season.

If there were any concerns about Hasty’s injury last year affecting his abilities in 2021, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn helped put them to rest from a practice report stemming from OTAs:

"Split time with rookie Elijah Mitchell as the No. 2 running back. Hasty looks bigger and stronger than he did last year when he was a rookie. The 49ers probably hope they can stash him on the practice squad, but he might not clear waivers."

Two things to pull away from this.

First, it doesn’t seem like San Francisco can stash Hasty as a practice squad reserve. Second, it’s looking like Mitchell winds up being Hasty’s primary competition in training camp.

Hasty might have to beat out Mitchell and/or a player like Gallman, which is entirely possible.

And if Hasty winds up outperforming either, there’s a solid chance he’ll find his way onto the back end of the 49ers’ 53-man roster to start 2021.

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