Kyle Shanahan May Give 49ers Third-Round Draftee ‘An Opportunity’ In Week 16

Tyrion Davis-Price, San Francisco 49ers

Getty Tyrion Davis-Price of the San Francisco 49ers running away from multiple Seattle Seahawks defenders.

The San Francisco 49ers currently have three running backs on their active roster, Christian McCaffrey, rookie third-round pick Tyrion Davis-Price, and rookie seventh-round pick Jordan Mason. With McCaffrey a should-be Pro Bowler, at least according to his teammate, Kyle Juszczyk, and his primary backup following the Jeff Wilson trade, Elijah Mitchell, on IR, many expected Davis-Price to earn a larger look as the Niners’ top backup but so far, that hasn’t been the case.

Since Mitchell suffered his injury in Week 12, Mason has rushed the ball 28 times for 196 yards and zero touchdowns, whereas Davis-Price hasn’t earned a single offensive snap, let alone a carry. When asked about why Davis-Price fell behind in the team’s depth chart and what he could do to earn another look moving forward during the final media availability before Week 16, Kyle Shanahan broke down how the depth chart developed like it did, as detailed via 49ers Webzone.

“Ty just kind of missed his opportunity early on,” Shanahan said. “There was a great chance after Week 2 in the Seattle game that he was going to start or at least finish the game with the bulk of the carries verse Denver, and he got a high-ankle sprain in Week 2 in the second quarter, but finished the game then was out for a month and during that month was his opportunity.”

“That’s where [Miami Dolphins RB] Jeff [Wilson Jr.] really got the bulk of the carries. That’s where J.P. got really good at special teams. When Ty came back is when Elijah was healthy, and he wasn’t getting those over Elijah. Then we had Christian and Elijah, J.P. had already made his role as the third guy for special teams, and that wasn’t going to change. Then when Elijah got hurt, Ty got an opportunity to get up, but he was behind J.P. at that moment, so he missed his opportunity because of the injury. I do feel he is a lot readier now. He’s waiting for that op. If J.P. doesn’t go, he should get some more carries this week.”

With McCaffrey still dealing with the lingering effects of a knee injury and Mason listed as questionable for Week 16 versus Washington with a hamstring injury, Davis-Price may finally earn a chance to earn his first carry since Week 7, when he ran the ball two times against the Kansas City Chiefs for four yards.

Shanahan Details Jordan Mason Popping up on The Injury Report

When asked about Mason’s status for Week 16, Shanahan explained that the Georgia Tech product’s hamstring “felt a little tight” during Wednesday’s practice and the team listed him as questionable as a result.

“I think yesterday, he said it was just feeling too tight, so we took him out of practice, and we were smart with him again today,” Shanahan said.

Losing Mason on offense would be a blow, as he’s been a fixture of the 49ers’ closing offensive attack with his fellow seventh-round rookie Brock Purdy, but his loss would also be felt on special teams, as he’s averaged 14.8 snaps per game with Brian Schneider’s unit.

The San Francisco 49ers Have Options at RB on the Practice Squad

If Mason is ultimately deemed out for Week 16, the 49ers will only have two running backs, McCaffrey and Mason, on their active roster. Fortunately, John Lynch does have a few options at his disposal and could elevate the one running back on his practice squad, Tevin Coleman, to fill that hole.

Currently in the middle of his second tenure with the team, Coleman has appeared in five games for the 49ers this season and was an impactful performer in one of them, picking up 67 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in Week 5. Coleman also has experience playing on special teams, with 121 snaps over his full career and 67 as a member of the Niners, including two in 2022 specifically. If Mason can’t play, Coleman is certainly an option to fill his shoes.

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