Breaking Down the 49’ers Running Back Spot

Last week, it was determined on 49ersGab that quarterback does not need to be addressed in this month’s draft. Today, we’ll discuss running back, a position that can always use more depth.

Running back

Likely starter: Frank Gore

Stiffest competition: DeShaun Foster, Michael Robinson

Insurance: Thomas Clayton, Zak Keasey

Analysis: Gore has been a rock at running back, really one of the most stable players on the team that past two years. But that doesn’t mean the Niners should act as though he is automatically destined to stay healthy for the next year or two.

Foster was a good insurance pickup, but he is notorious for his proneness to injury. He isn’t really a speed-around-the-corner kind of player, though. Foster is decent receiving out of the backfield so his value to the team may lie in that area, even though Martz’ passing system is more focused downfield.

Robinson is a great special teams player and has produced really well at running back when given the opportunity. He is a very good goal line back, so I would make the argument that he is the more valuable backup to Gore.

Clayton and Keasey are relative unknowns. This draft is deep at running back, as are most drafts. The fifth round might have been a good spot for a value pick, but obviously the Niners are without a pick in that round. There are other positions that should be addressed in the first four rounds, but I would like to see the Niners grab a sleeper back with their sixth or seventh rounder.

With that said, I don’t think the Niners have running back on their mind in April. Foster was obviously a bigger investment, though his contract is for just $1.8 million for two seasons. He will still be one of the biggest acquisitions during the offseason, so the Niners surely will try to justify the contract by giving him playing time.

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