Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports



There has been much debate during the offseason over the future of San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde. While few doubt Hyde's talent, some question his fit within head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense and his durability.

The 49ers brought in a number of new running backs during the offseason. Hyde and backup Raheem Mostert are the only holdovers from the previous regime. New faces include veterans Tim Hightower and Kapri Bibbs while the team also has a rookie crop of Joe Williams, Matt Breida, and Tyler McCloskey on the roster.

If Shanahan were to utilize two running backs on offense as he has done in the past, Hyde may be sharing snaps with a young running back. Some believe that Williams is the team's future starting running back – possibly unseating Hyde sooner rather than later. Matt Breida also impressed during the team's offseason program. We'll see if that continues once players put pads on and are actually hitting each other.

One former player-turned-NFL Media analyst who still believes in Hyde is LaDainian Tomlinson. The former San Diego Chargers and New York Jets running back will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August. Tomlinson included Hyde's name in his recently created list of running backs to watch in 2017.

If Hyde can remain healthy, Tomlinson projects him to have a 1,300-yard season and 10-or-more touchdowns in 2017. Here is what Tomlinson had to say about Hyde within his article:

"Hyde has slowly improved, production-wise, in the last three seasons (83 carries for 333 yards in 2014, 115 for 470 in 2015 and 217 for 988 yards in 2016). But since coming into the league in 2014, Hyde has battled injury after injury, most recently suffering an MCL tear in Week 16 last season. If he's able to take care of his body and stay on the field, he's going to do wonders for a 49ers offense that has ranked 31st overall in each of the last two seasons. The talent is there for Hyde to have a huge year."

Health is definitely a concern in regards to Hyde. Since becoming a starter in 2015, he has been available for just 20 of the team's 32 games due to injuries. In 2016, Hyde finished the season just 12 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard rushing season and missed the final game of the season after being placed on injured reserve. Over the past two seasons, he has rushed for 1,468 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 4.42 yards per carry.

How does new running backs coach Bobby Turner feel about Hyde? He spoke a little about the running back in June.

"He's doing an outstanding job," Turner said of Hyde. "But again, I'm not surprised ... He's eager. He's eager to learn and, at this point in time, he's doing a good job."

Hyde welcomes any competition that is thrown at him while acknowledging that there is a lot of competition among the running backs.

"I feel like there's more competition in the room now," Hyde said in June. "Bobby (Turner) stresses it every day that he wants guys in the room competing. And, I mean, any one of those guys can go in and be the starter."