Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Daniel Brunskill, Jalen Hurd listed among top 25 prospects who could break out in 2020

Jul 30, 2020 at 6:07 AM--

Football Outsiders has once again taken a look at the best young players in the league who don't have a lot of playing time. The feature for ESPN casts aside first-round picks and other top prospects, and instead focuses on those who didn't receive a lot of fanfare.

"This is a list of players who have a strong chance to make an impact in the NFL despite their lack of draft stock and the fact they weren't immediate NFL starters," wrote Rivers McCown.

The list is a top 25 ranking, and two players represent the San Francisco 49ers. The first — 26-year-old offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill — comes in at No. 10. The Atlanta Falcons signed him in 2017 as an undrafted free agent out of San Diego State, and he went on to play for the San Diego Fleet of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football before joining the 49ers on April 11, 2019.

"Working at both tackle and guard, Brunskill blew just two blocks that led to sacks -- one against Aaron Donald -- and showcased some pass-blocking steadiness on a team that needed a lot of it over the course of the season due to various injuries," wrote McCown.

Brunskill is a converted tight end who switched positions before his senior year in college. He went undrafted due to the perception that he had a lack of "functional strength." The offensive lineman has 476 career snaps.

"Person retired this offseason, but the 49ers didn't draft a lineman until the fifth round and only Ben Garland remains as an interior challenger who played last year," adds McCown. "That should put Brunskill in position to become a starter for the first time, and what we saw last year indicates he can handle that well."

At No. 17 on the list is a 49ers player who has zero career snaps, but was starting to get some attention before a back injury sidelined him for the year after one preseason appearance. San Francisco made wide receiver Jalen Hurd a third-round pick out of Baylor in 2019.

"What makes Hurd such a fascinating player is that he has the classic X receiver body," wrote McCown, "but he also spent a large majority of his college career as a running back -- a running back who started ahead of Alvin Kamara. He spent three years at Tennessee then transferred to Baylor where, after a year learning the position, he went off for 946 yards on 69 catches as a senior."

McCown believes the 24-year-old Hurd could be a fantasy football sleeper who has the skills to flourish in a Kyle Shanahan offense.

"Hurd is the obvious draft value choice to get extended snaps and, if he's used anything like the way the Titans used A.J. Brown last year, he could be an instant hit for fantasy leagues," concludes McCown.

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