49ers Predicted to Land ‘Violent’ RB to Replace Christian McCaffrey

49ers potential draftee Quinshon Judkins

Getty 49ers potential draftee Quinshon Judkins

There are plenty of concerns about the construction of the 49ers offense that have come to the surface in recent weeks, most notably when it comes to the presence of stars Bradnon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel in the wide receivers’ room. But the 49ers will, in short order, have to give a new contract to quarterback Brock Purdy, which will be an especially interesting negotiation that could reveal whether the team thinks Purdy’s success is a product of his talent or the team’s system.

But there is a looming issue on the horizon, too, and it is a horizon that is nearer than you might think. Star running back Christian McCaffrey turns 28 next month and, typically, it’s around age 28 that running backs see their careers begin to take downturns, sometimes precipitous. McCaffrey could be due for a drop-off, if not in 2024, then not far beyond.

With that in mind, CBS Sports has an interesting name linked to the 49ers in a very early 2025 NFL mock Draft: Ohio State star Quinshon Judkins.

Quinshon Judkins Runs WIih ‘Violence’

College football fans know that Judkins is already one of the top running backs in the sport, with two stellar seasons at Ole Miss under his belt. He ran for 1,567 yards as a freshman, and came back with 1,158 yards as a sophomore. He tallied 34 touchdowns in two years, 31 of which came as a rusher.

Making the switch to the Buckeyes should only increase Judkins’ profile.

As CBS’ Chris Trapasso wrote: “The 49ers offense is centered around Christian McCaffrey, but Judkins could help take some off the veteran running back’s plate as he nears his 30th birthday over the next few seasons. Judkins is super explosive and tough to bring down with sudden changing directions.”

At the NFL draft scouting site NFL Draft Buzz, Judkins’ was described as a “violent” runner and a good blocker, among his strengths. Its report read:

“Difficult to bring down one-on-one in space, regularly sidesteps would-be tacklers and uses offhand to use oncoming defenders’ momentum against them without slowing down significantly. He’s equally dangerous in catch-and-run situations as he is taking the top off a defense

“Judkins runs with violence; he’s capable of thrashing through tacklers, and he has the natural balance to withstand contact.”

49ers Not Concerned About Christian McCaffrey Workload

The 49ers do not seem to have much concern about McCaffrey in the short-term, though. He is signed for this season at $14 million (per Spotrac), and again next year at the same price. That’s not an exorbitant price relative to other skill position players, but McCaffrey is the highest-paid player at his position in the NFL.

He is a free agent after 2025, though, and the 49ers do need to start thinking about what will come next. McCaffrey ran for 1,459 yards last year, most in the NFL, and tallied 14 touchdowns with seven receiving touchdowns.  He had 272 carries in 16 games, plus another 59 in the postseason, a sizable workload for a running back.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was asked, repeatedly, last year about McCaffrey’s workload. It was not, he said, a source of concern.

“I mean, we treat him as our starting running back,” the coach said in October. “So, I don’t really think of how many touches we want to get somebody in a year, that’s week-to-week and how the game goes. But he gets a lot more extra because he gets thrown to so much in the passing game.

“I’m happy with how he’s being used. I’m happy with how he’s been playing, and we’ll see how the rest of the year goes.”

Read More