Sunday, June 26, 2022

49ers backfield unit ranked significantly low: analyst

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By now, NFL fans know that when the San Francisco 49ers launch their ground attack, they become a red-hot, dominant force.

The running game was a big help in manipulating two NFC North opponents at Levi’s Stadium ahead of Super Bowl 54. Including the playoffs last season, the 49ers went into games where they rushed for 100 yards or more, per Pro Football Reference scored, with 12-3 . Surrender and digging have become a staple of crimes led by Kyle Shanahan.

That means the 49ers have a top 10 backfield unit going into the 2022 season, right?

Unfortunately, the ‘Niners’ backfield unit was ranked at the bottom end in a national ranking released Wednesday, June 8th.

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Led by Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey, PFF delved into the league’s top running backs for the upcoming season.

There was an area of ​​the backfield that was excluded.

“For this exercise, full-backs were not considered. Teams with quality fullback options, such as the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, would receive slight bumps when accounted for,” Linsey wrote.

With those words from PFF, the 49ers backfield unit was ranked here: No. 27 overall.

Why this ranking? Especially with division rivals the Seattle Seahawks at No. 13 and the normally passing Arizona Cardinals at No. 23? Linsey explained:

Yes, whoever lined up in Shanahan’s perimeter attack put together strong numbers – whether it was Mitchell, Raheem Mostert, or even Deebo Samuel. But a 27th place finish is pretty telling for a team that has been successful and successful outside of the air game.

And the best backfield per PFF? The Cleveland Browns led by Nick Chubb followed by Kareem Hunt. The Browns were followed by Indianapolis at No. 2, Green Bay at No. 3, and Minnesota at No. 4.

While it wasn’t mentioned by Linsey, injuries could likely have been another reason for PFF’s 27th rating.

After all, Mostert had been out for most of the year with a cruciate ligament tear. Wilson had to deal with a meniscus tear that took him away for eight games. The rookie Sermon was struggling with an ankle injury. The unit was so depleted that Shanahan and the 49ers had to pull Brian Hill off the practice team and, of course, move Samuel to the backfield.

Mitchell emerged as the surprise lead bell cow in an injury-ravaged unit. But despite his rise from sixth-place finisher to starter, there’s no guarantee he’ll be the starter.

The 49ers reveled in the “zip” and power displayed by Tyrion Davis-Price in an LSU uniform, leading them to draft him 93rd overall on day two. There is a belief that Davis-Price will help change the fate of the 49ers in short-range situations like this:

Sermon and Wilson are also healthier. With Davis-Price drafted, Samuel could settle for a lesser backfield role — which was a common topic of discussion during his offseason contract talk. Lance has also shown a past life of taking handoffs and slashing defenses with his legs while running the Run Pass Option (RPO) offensive in North Dakota State.

While 27th is pretty telling, the 49ers have the rocks to catapult themselves higher. health, then production can take them there, as has been the case in the past.

Mitchell emerged as the surprise lead bell cow in an injury-ravaged unit. But despite his rise from sixth-place finisher to starter, there’s no guarantee he’ll be the starter.

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