James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

John Lynch says Jerick McKinnon is a ‘matchup nightmare’

May 16, 2018 at 9:07 AM--

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch joined Good Morning Football on Wednesday and shared why the team was so enamored with running back Jerick McKinnon. The 49ers made him a priority target in free agency and gave him a four-year deal worth up to $30 million to become the featured back in San Francisco.

Lynch explained that his experience as a broadcaster for FOX gave him opportunities to hear about players from coaches who have not yet become stars.

"Jerick McKinnon was always that guy (you would hear about)," Lynch said. "He was playing behind guys like Adrian Peterson, so he never really saw the field as much as they would have liked or he would have liked. We saw last year at the end; he really started to show what he could do. He's a guy that we really appreciated. I think he'll fit extremely well in our offense.

"Even though he's smaller in stature, the one thing that we grew comfortable with is that he plays bigger than that. He's a real strong back. While his stature is not the biggest guy in the world, he plays big. And the one thing that's undeniable – he can roll. He's fast.

RELATED Why Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers didn't expect a fight to sign Jerick McKinnon

"It's fun to look at our halfback room, and I think the slowest guy out of the five we have right now runs a 4.49. These guys can all fly. Jerick is one of those guys. Not only can he fly, he's a matchup nightmare. He can run these choice routes where, 'Ok, you want to guard me on the inside? We'll go out. You want to guard me on the outside? We'll go in.'

"I think Kyle (Shanahan) will do a tremendous job of exploiting him on linebackers and such. We're really excited to see Jerick as part of our offense."

Lynch brought up the speed of the running backs room. Jeremy McNichols is the player who had a 4.49 40-time at the combine in 2017. Raheem Mostert (4.32 in 2015), Matt Breida (4.37 in 2017), McKinnon (4.41 in 2014), and Joe Williams (4.41 in 2017) all had faster 40-times.

McKinnon (5-9, 205), who turned 26 earlier this month, registered 1,918 yards on 474 carries with seven touchdowns in his four NFL seasons. Over the past two seasons, he recorded 1,109 rushing yards on 309 carries with five touchdowns while adding 94 receptions for 676 yards with four touchdown catches.

McKinnon's pairing with Latavius Murray in Minnesota last season created one of the best running back tandems in the league.

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