49ers depth chart: Will Jordan Mason make Tyrion Davis-Price pick look bad?

Jordan Mason #41 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Adam Bettcher/ Getty Images)
Jordan Mason #41 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Adam Bettcher/ Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers have a unique talent for finding near-elite running backs later in the NFL Draft than most.

Look at Elijah Mitchell, who went from sixth-rounder to starter in just one season. San Francisco added more names to the backfield last offseason by drafting Tyrion Davis-Price and singing UDFA Jordan Mason.

Mason ran for 94 yards on just 19 carries in three preseason games. Not only were those numbers enough to keep the Georgia Tech alum on the 53-man roster, but they helped him beat out a third-round pick with some substantial hype behind him in Trey Sermon.

After one season with the Niners, Sermon was booted out and has since moved on to Philadelphia.

Mason and Davis-Price will likely be competing for depth roles behind Mitchell, once he returns from an injury suffered in Week 1, and Jeff Wilson Jr. this season, though the LSU product was projected to be a more pro-ready player.

With 24 carries and just 74 yards, Davis-Price was outperformed by mason in the preseason. Tack on Davis-Price suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 2’s win over the Seattle Seahawks, Mason’s stock continues to rise even more.

Using a third-round pick on a running back who will be no higher than the third string, especially when you traded multiple first-round picks beforehand and have some glaring holes on this team, could come back to bite San Francisco over the course of the year.

49ers depth chart: Will Jordan Mason outperform Tyrion-Davis Price?

It’s clear that head coach Kyle Shanahan desired a more powerful running back that could serve as a more powerful, north-south component to the speedy Mitchell. Though Davis-Price’s college production and athletic numbers were limited, Shanahan saw something in him.

However, given how Mason was the better player in the preseason, putting him into the lineup ahead of Davis-Price might be the best move. With how often Shanahan likes to rotate his backs in and out, getting a respectable deputy behind Mitchell is imperative if the offense is to be executed properly.

After committing $40 million to Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman right before getting a combined two seasons out of Sermon and Joe Williams, Shanahan’s strangely dubious history of using premium assets to acquire iffy running backs will only get stronger if Davis-Price gets relegated to fourth-string.


Picking Davis-Price as high as they did was already a risk for San Francisco, as he was widely regarded as a prospect who would be selected somewhere in the middle of Day 3, if at all.

While it’s not unreasonable to trust general manager John Lynch and his drafting skill, the fact that an undrafted rookie came in and is poised to leapfrog Davis-Price is a bit concerning.

Next. 10 tailgate foods (and recipes) 49ers fans will absolutely love. dark