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49ers Running Back Depth Chart Clarity Starting to Emerge

Larry Rupp
Clarity on the San Francisco 49ers running back depth chart is starting to emerge.
Clarity on the San Francisco 49ers running back depth chart is starting to emerge. / AP Photos/Jeff Chiu

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has shown a tendency to keep his cards close to his chest. He never wants to give his opponent a leg up, so he regularly uses a strategy of riding the hot hand at the running back position. Some clarity in the backfield is finally starting to emerge, though.

San Francisco 49ers News

NBC Sports' Peter King reported that second-year pro Trey Sermon has worked his way up to the No. 2 role behind starter Elijah Mitchell. He expects both ball-carriers to "get major chances" early in the season as Shanahan "will game plan to protect" quarterback Trey Lance in his NFL development.

This has to come as a bit of a surprise considering Sermon was deemed as a potential roster cut just a few weeks ago. When general manager John Lynch called the Ohio State product "one of the best players" in training camp, people thought he was simply trying to hype him up in trade negotiations.

Sermon posted just 193 yards from scrimmage (4.4 yards per touch) and one touchdown in 2021 as injuries limited him to nine games. Coming out of college, he was praised for his ability to accelerate after changing direction and rack up yards after contact. It gives him upside in Shanahan's system.

However, the 23-year-old is going to have to showcase early and often why he deserves to handle the ball whenever Mitchell needs a breather. Veteran Jeff Wilson is waiting in the wings and has ample experience leading a Shanahan backfield. He has scored 17 touchdowns in 37 career games.

San Francisco has the seventh-best odds to win Super Bowl 57 at +1600, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.