Jordan Mason can be 49ers preseason hero in Sunday tilt vs. Raiders

Jordan Mason is one player fans should be watching closely this preseason.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jordan Mason
San Francisco 49ers running back Jordan Mason / Jeff Bottari/GettyImages

49ers football is finally back, and second-year pro Jordan Mason has a golden chance to cement himself as the backup running back with a strong preseason.

It felt like an eternity, but we finally got through the offseason and we return to football with the preseason opening up for the San Francisco 49ers against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 13 at 4 p.m. ET.

With the starters all but confirmed to have the game off, this is the first golden opportunity for the backups to show what they're worth on the field and fly up the depth chart.

Read More: 49ers news: Don't expect Kyle Shanahan to play starters vs. Raiders

It isn't exactly breaking news to say that head coach Kyle Shanahan is fond of running the ball, so one of the key position battles will be which running back will be the one to be the backup to star tailback Christian McCaffrey.

An important assignment, given that Shanahan likes to rotate his running backs to keep McCaffrey fresh, second-year pro Jordan Mason will have a golden chance to make a case for himself with presumptive backup Elijah Mitchell out due to yet more injury issues.

Mason is no stranger to impressive preseasons given the start to his NFL career, where he was so impressive in training camp and the preseason games that the 49ers felt they had no choice but to cut former third-round pick Trey Sermon to keep room for him on the team. Mason played sparingly in 2022 but flashed serious potential running at 6.0 yards per carry with 258 yards and a touchdown off 43 carries.

With Mitchell frustratingly on the sidelines again, Mason has a very good chance to take a step up on the depth chart for 2023 and be entrusted with a bigger role on the offense. The 49ers have shown plenty of times in the past that they're willing to give undrafted players a shot as they showed with Mason last year, and they're also willing to let them move up the depth chart.

If Mason has a strong outing against the Raiders, it wouldn't be surprising if he moves up the depth chart sooner rather than later.

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