Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

49ers heavy running backs room can thin out real soon

Aug 17, 2022 at 3:19 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers have a problem, and this problem may be a good one to have. The team has six running backs looking to make the 53-man roster. You may think six running backs is a lot, but that's only two-thirds compared to the nine runnings the 49ers used in 2021. That year, the 49ers used Jeff Wilson, Trey Sermon (rookie), Jacques Patrick, Raheem Mostert (season-ending IR after Week 1), Elijah Mitchell (rookie), Kerryon Johnson, Brian Hill, JaMycal Hasty, and Trenton Cannon.

The 2021 season was injury plagued at the running back position. Elijah Mitchell was the leading rusher for the 49ers with 963 yards, five touchdowns, and averaged 4.7 yards per carrying, all while missing five games.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan's plan for the running backs room Is no different in 2022. The 49ers kept Wilson, Hasty, Sermon (third-round pick in 2021), and Mitchell (sixth-round pick in 2021). Shanahan and company added Tyrion Davis-Price (third-round pick) and an undrafted free agent out of Georgia Tech, Jordan Mason.

It's clear that Mitchell is running back number one in 2022, but he is also recovering from a hamstring injury. Injuries were a massive problem for Mitchell in 2021. So the question is, who are running backs two, three, and four?

Training camp has been enjoyable. Sermon looked the part and appeared to be the clear winner for running back two. However, some say his performance in the preseason matchup against the Green Bay Packers was abysmal. Statistically, Sermon rushed for 11 yards on six carries and averaged 1.8 yards per attempt. He performed the least out of the four running backs that evening.

The rookie, Davis-Price, rushed for 36 yards on ten carries. The undrafted rookie, Mason, rushed for 30 yards on six carries. Veteran Hasty rushed for 36 yards on five carries, averaging 7.2 yards per attempt.

The 49ers are in Minnesota for a preseason matchup against the Vikings on Saturday, August 20. Wilson should be dressed and ready, along with the running backs from the previous game. The 49ers must make a second roster move by August 23. The performance of the running backs could result in one being released or waived.

With Mitchell's hamstring injury and the injury history of the running backs from the 2021 season, it may be in Shanahan's best interest to find a way to keep as many of the six running backs on this roster. Each one of the running backs brings something unique to the room.

Which running back will be the odd man out, or will the 49ers find a way to keep them all? They say, "One man's loss is another man's treasure."
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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