This trio of San Francisco 49ers running backs is already on thin ice

These three rushers could face getting cut by the 49ers prior to Week 1.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jordan Mason
San Francisco 49ers running back Jordan Mason / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

A month after the 2024 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers' depth charts have filled up some more. A number of positions saw additions to their roster on both sides of the ball.

Going into OTAs, the Niners saw a number of returning faces as quarterback Brock Purdy will still be throwing the ball downfield to receiving targets like George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Jauan Jennings and Brandon Aiyuk (for now).

Purdy was a part of a dual-threat offense where he could also rely on the rushing attack, too.

Their third-year quarterback will also be handing off the football to running backs Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell.

However, the backfield is more crowded than in years before.

McCaffrey had 272 carries and led the league with 1,459 yards on the ground to complement his 14 touchdowns (fourth best in the NFL).

It was the first time since his third season that McCaffrey played 16 games in a season. Mitchell played in 11 contests for San Francisco last year, and he had 281 rushing yards and a pair of scores on 75 carries.

After those two names, the defending NFC champions have some options.

But what names are on thin ice if they don't have a strong showing during OTAs and training camp?

3. Patrick Taylor, Jr.

The former Memphis Tiger, Patrick Taylor Jr., enters his fourth year in the pros. At 6foot-2' and 217 pounds, Taylor started his career with the Green Bay Packers.

During his three seasons in the NFC North, Taylor amassed 65 carries and 261 yards. His only touchdown came in his rookie season.

However, 24 of his 32 carries last season were for a first down. That means 75 percent of his rushes moved the chains n 2023.

He also pulled in 11 receptions for 49 yards. We know the 49ers aren't shy about throwing the ball to their running backs. McCaffrey had 67 receptions for 564 yards and seven touchdowns.

Despite seeing limited action in the playoffs last year, Taylor rushed for 6 yards on three carries in the Wild Card round against the Dallas Cowboys. With two playoff games under his belt, he potentially could see more if the head coach Kyle Shanahan and the rest of the 49ers brass believe in him, especially on special teams.

But those laurels may not be enough for Taylor to make the 53-man roster.

2. Isaac Guerendo

A fourth-round selection was used by the 49ers to take the former Louisville Cardinal rusher, Isaac Guerendo. At 6-foot-0 tall and 220 pounds, he is built for the run game to help San Francisco gain yardage on the ground.

In early November against Virginia Tech University, Guerendo tallied 146 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 rushes. he would also record another three-touchdown game the next month against the University of Southern California on 23 rushes for 161 yards.

Guerendo also was utlized for kick returns, as well. Against the University of Kentucky, he had a 36-yard return and a 48-yard return in the same contest.

San Francisco called Guerendo's name to the podium late on the second day of the NFL Draft for a reason. A strong showing in the backfield and/or on special teams during OTAs and in camp could keep the 129th overall pick in a 49ers uniform in 2024.

A poor showing could reduce the rookie to a practice squad demotion or an outright cut from the team, which has unfortunately been a trend for recently drafted Niners running backs.

1. Jordan Mason

The undrafted talent out of Georgia Tech made the final cuts two seasons ago as Jordan Mason became a part of the 53-man roster for the 49ers. In his rookie season, he only missed one game.

The third year running back has rushed at least 40 times and produced more than 200 yards in each of his first two seasons. Although Mason only had one score in his first year, he put up three more in 2023.

Overall, Mason is averaging a first down more than one out of every four rushes for the 49ers. He was also thrown to four times last season and recorded 31 receiving yards on his three catches.

In 33 games played between 2022 and 2023, Mason doesn't even have 500 yards rushing and only the four touchdowns to his statline. San Francisco could easily look at No. 24 and move on from him after inviting Taylor to the squad and drafting Guerendo.

While it never hurts to have depth behind two veteran rushers in McCaffrey and Mitchell, it is unlikely all three stay on the active roster come Week 1.

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