Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Peter King felt 49ers’ Jalen Hurd would be the Offensive Rookie of the Year before his injury

Apr 30, 2020 at 12:00 PM--

It was no surprise to hear San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa's name called when the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award was announced in February. The young defensive star dominated opposing offensive lines and showed why he is one of the best rising stars in the NFL.

What if the 49ers had ended up with the Defensive Rookie of the Year and the Offensive Rookie of the Year? Wouldn't that have been impressive?

Peter King of NBC Sports told general manager John Lynch this week that, after visiting training camp last year, he felt wide receiver Jalen Hurd was the most impressive player on the roster.

"I walked out of that camp, and we got in the car to go to the next place," King said while interviewing Lynch on his podcast, "and the two women I was traveling with said, 'Well, what was your impression?' I said, 'We just saw the 2019 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.' This guy is going to come out of nowhere. He's going to be fantastic."

That never came close to happening, of course. Hurd played in just one preseason game before a back injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Lynch sounds cautiously optimistic about Hurd finally contributing in 2020.

"Well, he had a good redshirt year," Lynch told King. "Now, he's got to go do it. Our belief hasn't changed. We've seen him for 14 days on the field, and I agree with you. You can make a case he was the best player on the field for those 14 days.

"One of the things in this league, your best ability is availability. He's got to be available. That wasn't his fault. He had a stress reaction in his back that flared up. It was frustrating because every time he'd get close, he'd go try to ramp up, and it would hurt him. And that's the way those things are. I've learned more about that injury than I'd ever want to know.

"Jalen's doing very well. He's a big part of our plans. And remember, in the past, we thought he could play some receiver, we thought he could play some backup tight end. We thought, even at times, we could play him at running back.

"That vision for him hasn't changed. Now he's just got to go do it and be available. We almost look at him as another draft choice this year."

You can listen to the entire interview with Lynch below.

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