The 49ers have six running backs on their 70-player roster. And while it seems likely they will add to that number to fill the 90-player limit, general manager Trent Baalke said he is comfortable with the players and talent already under contract.
“We feel like we can go into the season and feel pretty good about it,” Baalke said this week at the NFL owners meetings in Boca Raton, Florida. “That’s not a position where, generally speaking, you’re going to have three bell cows.”
The 49ers’ No. 1 running back is unquestionably Carlos Hyde, whom Baalke said will be cleared to take part in all on-field work during the offseason program after undergoing a surgical procedure late in the season to repair a stress fracture in his foot.
Said coach Chip Kelly, “He’s one of the really good young running backs.”
Baalke disputed the belief the 49ers were looking to add more depth at running back at the start of free agency.
“I wouldn’t say that was totally accurate reporting,” he said.
The 49ers brought in free-agent Lance Dunbar for a visit. Dunbar, who re-signed this week with the Dallas Cowboys, might have to open the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list due to a serious knee injury he sustained last season. Baalke said the 49ers reached out to some running backs, but it was “nothing substantial.”
The 49ers re-signed Shaun Draughn, and also have a depth chart that includes DuJuan Harris, Mike Davis, Jarryd Hayne and Kendall Gaskins.
“I think Shaun Draughn came in and earned the respect of a lot of us for a guy who was on the street and doing nothing at the time we picked him up,” Baalke said. “The same with Harris. We all know Carlos when he’s healthy is one of the better backs in the National Football League. We expect him to come back healthy and ready to go.”
Hayne is set to return to compete for a roster spot after spending time with the 49ers last season in his first year of playing American football. Gaskins opened the season on the practice squad and played nine games after injuries sidelined Hyde and Reggie Bush. Davis saw action in just six games as a rookie after being a fourth-round draft pick. He gained just 58 yards on 35 rushing attempts.
“We certainly haven’t seen everything he can do, yet,” Baalke said.