Niners Sign Top Preseason Rusher to Injury-Ravaged Backfield: Report

49ers vs Eagles watch

Getty Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers take on the Philadelphia Eagles Week 2.

The San Francisco 49ers have already seen their top five running backs hampered by some sort of injury just two weeks into the regular season.

The team’s current solution? Add some heft, and hopefully some durability, to the position in the form of ex-Cincinnati Bengal Jacques Patrick.

“49ers today officially signed RB Jacques (JAH-kez) Patrick from the Bengals practice squad to a one-year deal and also released CB Dee Virgin from the practice squad,” tweeted Matt Barrows, of The Athletic, tweeted Tuesday morning.

Patrick led Bengals in Rushing During Preseason

Patrick was the Bengals’ leading preseason rusher, averaging 5 yards per carry. He was, however, cut from the team on August 31 when Cincinnati submitted its initial 53-man roster, as per league rules. He was signed to the Bengals’ practice squad the next day.

Patrick, who stands out at 6-feet, 2-inches tall and 231 pounds, is a bruising back with speed that could make a considerable amount of sense in Niners’ head coach Kyle Shanahan’s zone run scheme.

Barrows tweeted video of Patrick showing off his skills in a preseason game this year against the Washington Football Team.

“As @PFF_Jeff notes, Jacques Patrick was Cincinnati’s top rusher this preseason,” Barrows wrote. “He averaged 5 yards a carry, and for 230-plus pounds, he seems like he has the wheels for the stretch zone runs. Samuel + Kittle + Patrick = bruises.”

Patrick Ran Long Road to Good Opportunity in San Francisco

Patrick played his college ball at Florida State University, then had a stint in the XFL with the Tampa Bay Vipers. He appeared in five XFL games, carrying the ball 60 times and gaining a total of 254 yards to complement 2 touchdown runs.

Patrick caught on with the Bengals in 2020, signing with the team’s practice squad on April 17. He then signed a Reserve/Future contract with Cincinnati on January 4, 2021. He remained a member of the practice squad through Week 2 before the Niners picked him off Tuesday to aid a seriously ailing backfield.

The physical back has a chance to step in and meaningfully contribute to the floundering Niners’ run attack for two reasons.

Firstly, the Bengals and the Niners utilize similar schemes that should allow for Patrick to catch on quickly. Secondly, the rushers who remain on the active roster are new additions themselves, many with minimal experience as rookies or practice players.

San Francisco lost three running backs to injury within a span of 5 minutes during their Week 2 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rookier starter Elijah Mitchell went down with a shoulder injury with approximately 11 minutes to play in the 4th quarter, a hit that turned out to be a stinger. He returned later in the game and is currently listed as day-to-day.

JaMycal Hasty has been the clear No. 2 at the position since season starter Raheem Mostert went down for the year, tearing cartilage in his knee against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, September 12.

Hasty sustained a high-ankle sprain against the Eagles not long after Mitchell caught the stinger. Unfortunately, Hasty was unable to return. Shanahan on Monday said the RB will be “out for awhile” while he recovers, according to a report from ESPN’s Nick Wagoner.

Rookie Trey Sermon was the next to go, as he sustained a concussion on the first NFL carry of his career, which ended in an 8-yard gain and subsequent fumble. Sermon entered the league’s concussion protocol, where he remains.

Patrick was one of several running backs the Niners brought in early this week in an effort to round out the position.

San Francisco also worked out Duke Johnson and Lamar Miller Monday. Former Detroit Lions starter Kerryon Johnson signed with the practice squad last week, as did former Baltimore Ravens running back Trenton Cannon.

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