49ers roster: Jordan Mason gets his chance with Elijah Mitchell sidelined

San Francisco 49ers running back Jordan Mason (24) Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers running back Jordan Mason (24) Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers are going to be without Elijah Mitchell for a while, meaning undrafted rookie Jordan Mason should finally get an extended look.

Every year, there’s always that one player for whom fans clamor to see on the field. Often, it’s a backup quarterback, especially on bad teams.

In the San Francisco 49ers’ case, that player in 2022 has been undrafted rookie running back Jordan Mason.

Mason, whose collegiate career at Georgia Tech should have translated into him being drafted, nevertheless helped convince the Niners to part ways with last year’s third-round running back, Trey Sermon, after the preseason. But that only led to Mason surviving cuts and earning a spot on the regular-season 53-man roster.

Not much more than that, though.

Mason’s chances to have a substantial impact in year one took an additional hit when San Francisco executed the blockbuster trade for All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, who was subsequently joined by last year’s rushing standout, Elijah Mitchell, coming off a sprained MCL suffered way back in Week 1.

However, in the wake of the 49ers’ Week 12 victory over the New Orleans Saints, the context might actually be shifting back in Mason’s favor.

Elijah Mitchell suffers injury vs. Saints, 49ers to promote Jordan Mason?

One of the negatives stemming from the Niners’ 13-0 shutout victory over New Orleans was watching Mitchell exit the game with what’s believed to be another MCL sprain, only the opposite knee from the one that was originally injured earlier this season. And while the initial thinking is this injury isn’t as bad as the previous one, Mitchell is going to be out for a while.

With no other true halfbacks on the roster aside from McCaffrey, head coach Kyle Shanahan had little choice but to give Mason some touches.

The rookie responded with five rushes for 25 yards against what was a stingy Saints defense against the run that game.

“I think [Mason] came in there and did a really good job there at the end,” Shanahan said after the game. “They had every single person trying to stop the run. I think you guys saw how hard-nosed he is and how he ran it and was able to keep us out there on the field and not give it back and put the D out there again.”

With fellow rookie running back Tyrion Davis-Price inactive for the game, Mason certainly looks to be the one elevated up the depth chart.

Related Story: Will Jordan Mason make 49ers’ pick of Ty Davis-Price look bad?

Shanahan added that Mason’s work on special teams has proven to be the edge over Davis-Price, who also figures to benefit somewhat from Mitchell’s absence.

Yet it’ll be Mason who likely winds up getting the bulk of carries that would otherwise go Mitchell’s way.

As a result, the fans who had previously been clamoring for the undrafted rookie to see more field time should finally get their wish, and it wouldn’t be out of the question to see Mason emerge as yet another hidden-gem find by San Francisco at running back, too.

dark. Next. First-half grades for every 49ers 2022 NFL Draft pick