Second-year running back Jeff Wilson still has no guarantee if he'll wind up making the San Francisco 49ers' 53-man roster in 2019. After all, the Niners own one of the deepest running back crops heading into this season. Considering other names like Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Jerick McKinnon and Raheem Mostert, Wilson's chances were going to be slim once San Francisco's preseason campaign started.

Yet Wilson was a key asset during the 49ers' 27-17 preseason Week 3 win over the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday night. While he had to wait until the second half to see field time, Wilson managed an impressive two-touchdown performance, both giving the Niners a second-half lead and ensuring things would stay that way.

Wilson's second touchdown of the night, a 7-yard scamper through a crowded second level, was particularly impressive:


"It was just following my O-line," Wilson told KPIX 5's Dennis O'Donnell after the game. "The coaches called it up, and it was just following the blocks, reading them, seeing those guys play out how they're supposed to play out and just hitting the hole."

Wilson finished the night with a team-leading 45 yards, averaging 3.8 yards on his 12 attempts. While Breida ripped off some massive carries earlier in the game, Wilson has made a name for himself with tough, short-yardage pickups. Those were on display last season, although Wilson had three fumbles in limited use. So far in the 2019 preseason, though, Wilson is looking like he'll make head coach Kyle Shanahan's decision on the team's running back depth chart a difficult one.

"Our coaches tell us it's just a mentality," Wilson continued. "So my mentality is get across that goal line."

Coleman and Breida likely won't pay during San Francisco's final exhibition bout this preseason on Thursday, Aug. 29 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Wilson, however, could see plenty of field time. And his efforts could go a long way in determining whether or not he makes the cut.

There is another wrinkle in the Niners' depth plans, though. McKinnon still hasn't seen the field this preseason after suffering a setback during his 2018 ACL injury recovery. Depending on his status, San Francisco could elect to shelve McKinnon on injured reserve with a designation to return, possibly opening up a spot for Wilson.

Whatever the case might be, Wilson is at least making it a tough choice for Shanahan and Co.
  • Peter Panacy
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    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.