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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

49ers continue to express pre-draft interest in dual-threat running back

Apr 17, 2024 at 11:40 AM

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Austin Jones, the running back who spent three seasons with Stanford and the past two with USC, was among the 44 players in attendance at the San Francisco 49ers local pro day on April 10. Justin Melo of The Draft Network reports that the Bay Area team is keeping tabs on the Pac-12 standout.

As a senior in 2023, Jones rushed for 477 yards and seven touchdowns on 85 carries, per Sports Reference. Additionally, he had 13 receptions for 103 yards and a score last season.

"I'm more of a between-the-tackles runner with great contact balance," Jones recently told Melo. "My vision plays well into that. I play the game with great vision. My football IQ also plays a big role. I can identify where those holes are about to open up. I understand where my 'outs' are if things don't go according to plan, especially on those inside zone plays. I can hit those cutback lanes."

Jones' best season came in 2022 with the Trojans, when he amassed 705 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns on 135 carries while adding 25 catches for 267 receiving yards and a trip into the end zone.

Throughout his collegiate career, Jones amassed 2,337 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns on 498 carries, adding 105 receptions for 901 yards and three receiving touchdowns.

"I'm going to make a big impact at the next level," Jones said. "Whichever team gets me is getting a leader in the locker room. I'm the ultimate competitor. I'm a straight-up dog, a playmaker at the end of the day. I'll do whatever it takes to get on the field. I'll play special teams and do whatever it takes to get on the field. Of course, I want to play running back, but I'll do whatever it takes to prove myself to the coaching staff."

Dane Brugler of The Athletic gives Jones a "priority free agent" grade, stating, "Overall, Jones has an undersized build and won't push piles, but his vision, foot quickness, and pass-catching skills will help him compete for a roster spot."

Visit our pre-draft tracker for a comprehensive overview of all reported formal and informal meetings between the 49ers and prospective NFL rookies.

The 2024 NFL Draft will take place in Detroit, Michigan, from Thursday, April 25, through Saturday, April 27.


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