As the Niners get set for what should be an odd 2020 season, there’s one player on their roster that could be due for a big season, that being running back Jerick McKinnon.
NFL.com today has a piece out with breakout stars from around the NFL, and McKinnon is right at the top of the list.
Here’s what Jim Trotter had to say about the running back:
My breakout player is someone who wasn’t even on the field last season. Or the season before that. San Francisco running back Jerick McKinnon missed the past two seasons after tearing his ACL shortly before the 2018 season opener, but he has looked healthy and explosive in training camp this year. Smart fantasy owners would be wise to grab him at some point, because I expect him to put up numbers. Remember, it was 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan who reminded reporters that there was a reason McKinnon was one of the team’s celebrated free-agent acquisitions in March 2018, when he left the Vikings to sign a four-year, potential $30 million deal that included a reported $18 million in guarantees.
Blessed with quickness, speed and a receiver’s hands, McKinnon was viewed as a game-changing third-down back who could also take snaps on first and second down. Based on how he has looked in camp this month, there is no reason to think he won’t fulfill those expectations. His skill set combined with the scheming and game-planning of Shanahan and his assistants virtually ensures that a healthy McKinnon will be a force. He joins a deep backfield that includes Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Jeff Wilson Jr., but his talent is such that there will be ample opportunities to distinguish himself.
McKinnon is only 28 years old and has relatively few miles on his tires. He never carried more than 159 times in any of his four seasons with the Vikings, during which he annually grew as a threat out of the backfield, his reception total going from 21 to 43 to 51 in his final three seasons. San Francisco has a talented young linebacker corps that can run with most backs, but no one has been able to keep pace with McKinnon during one-on-one drills in practice. My prediction is that’s simply a prelude of what’s to come when the real games start.
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