Let's put this to rest RIGHT NOW!
First of all, in the 3rd? Really???
Second, RB's with promise come out every year! Last year, people were enamoured with guys like Doug Martin, David Wilson, Ronnie Hillman, Bernard Pierce and Lamar Miller. Next year people will be talking about Jeremy Smith, Silas Redd, Jeremy Hill and Ka'deem Carey. Leading up to the draft, these players are talked about like they will be future Hall of Famers. Then the buzz dies down and it become a man's game again.
Lastly, We already have a battery of talented RB's and some contribute in more ways than one. James can return kicks and Dixon contributes on special teams. Hunter's body of work so far suggests that he will be a very good player in this league for a long time. He's sprinting and will be 100% at the start of training camp.
So why red shirt a guy who may never be as good as he was pre-injury? Great work ethic and has a chip on his shoulder, yeah, I get it. But there is simply too much risk and not enough upside, especially when you consider the fact that RB's tend to have an easier time transitioning to the pros then other positions. Why not roll with what we have and address the position again next year if need be.
The Niners are better off "red-shirting" a WR like they did with AJ last year. Or even a pass rusher, DT, or CB.
I'd rather take a risk on the Honey Badger, John Boyett, DJ Hayden, or even Lawrence Okoye. Lattimore will go undrafted!
[ Edited by doc_brown_ on Apr 20, 2013 at 1:23 PM ]