Jerick McKinnon's career NFL numbers may not jump out at you, but he is exactly what head coach Kyle Shanahan wanted for his offense. He was so enamored with the running back that he made the former Minnesota Viking a free agent priority, embarked in a mini-bidding war with the New York Jets to acquire him, and was willing to let last year's featured back, Carlos Hyde, walk.

Not only will the versatile McKinnon be the featured running back in Shanahan's offense, his ability to catch the football will play a big part in this year's passing game.

"I think he's an extremely good runner," Shanahan said after signing McKinnon. "I've loved him since college. It was harder to evaluate him in college because he was a quarterback, but he was a very good running quarterback, and he could throw it a little bit too. But, I always knew he had running skills and to be able to study him on NFL film where he was actually at the running back position and to be able to see he can make people miss, and he can create arm tackles, and he has the strength and power to break those arm tackles.

"What is a huge bonus on him is when you talk about the pass game. When it comes to separating and beating linebackers and safeties in man-to-man coverage, I definitely think he's an issue for teams. I think this league, when it comes to third downs and things like that, you move the chains based off of matchups, which allows you to get points in the long run. I think Jerick is very versatile and we can do a lot of things with him."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee – soon to be moving to The Athletic – had a conversation with Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger on KNBR Tuesday and was asked if the 49ers have a 750- or 800-yard rusher on the team.

Shanahan's comments about McKinnon being able to separate from, and beating, linebackers is interesting because that is exactly what Barrows noticed during practices this offseason.

"If they get 750 rushing yards out of Jerick McKinnon, I think that they would love it because they're expecting to get at least that much in the passing game from him," Barrows said. "That's the real asset that he brings. That jumped out during the spring practices. Inside linebackers, where there was Reuben Foster, who's very good in coverage, or Malcolm Smith, one of the faster linebackers in the league, they all had trouble covering Jerick McKinnon.

"When you pair up McKinnon's speed and quickness with (Jimmy) Garoppolo's quick release and his touch, that's going to be a very, very good combination, I think. I know that Gary loves fantasy football so if you want to pick up a steal in your fantasy league, Gary, I think Jerick McKinnon would be a good one."

Garoppolo has been impressed with McKinnon during his first offseason with the running back.

"Jerick, he's a talent, man," the quarterback said in June. "He does some things that you don't even know how he does them, is the best way to describe it. He's like a jitterbug back there, but he's savvy and smart at the same time, which is a great feeling as a quarterback having a guy like that."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Barrows below.