The San Francisco 49ers have whittled down their roster to 53 players. Among those remaining is wide receiver Jalen Hurd.
Hurd has been a question mark throughout the preseason. The Niners’ third-round draft pick in 2019 has been with the team since he was a rookie, but he has yet to play in an NFL game due to multiple injuries that have kept him sidelined for more than two years.
“WR Jalen Hurd made the #49ers initial 53-man roster via source,” Matt Maiocco, of NBC Sports Bay Area, tweeted on Tuesday, August 31. “He provides so many possibilities with his unique blend of size, skills. The 2019 draft pick is set to play in the NFL regular season for the first time.”
Hurd Could Prove X-Factor in San Francisco, if He Can Stay Healthy
The San Francisco coaching staff believes Hurd has a real future ahead of him in the Bay Area, if he can find a way to get on the field.
The wide receiver missed his entire rookie season with a broken bone in his back. He missed all of last year with a torn ACL. After sitting out much of the offseason, including most of training camp with knee issues, Hurd returned to practice in mid-August.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan may have had something to do with that return, after he speculated publicly about whether the promising young player would make the initial 53-man roster considering his frequent absence from team activities.
“I know he’s battling back from a serious injury, and we know the potential he has and the upside and how much we think he can help us, but he’s got to show that,” Shanahan told media members Tuesday, Aug. 10.
“And there’s not a lot of time left. But we want to be smart with him. I know some things were bothering him today, so we were smart with him,” Shanahan continued. “Hopefully, he can get in a groove where he has a chance to go out there and play some football and give himself a chance to make this team.”
The head coach’s tune was a little more understanding when he spoke to Hurd’s condition Thursday, Aug. 19.
“As you guys know, he’s been in and out through most of this, and he’s had some knee soreness,” Shanahan said. “He has got some knee tendinitis, so instead of going one day and having to take three off, we made the decision a couple of days ago to shut him down for the week, make sure he gets at least seven days off. I think it was five days before that, so it’s going to be a little over 10 days (total).”
Hurd’s Spot With Niners Not Yet Set in Stone
The initial 53-man roster is not the final roster, and turnover is still possible before the Niners open their season on September 12 against the Detroit Lions.
Hurd adds versatility unlike the other wideouts on the Niners’ roster can provide. Standing at 6-feet, 5-inches tall and weighing 230 pounds, he has experience as a running back in college.
San Francisco quarterbacks targeted Hurd six times in the team’s final preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, August 29. He caught four passes for 25 yards and gained 2 yards on one carry. Hurd also recorded two drops.
With just 11 days until the season opener, it appears likely the Niners will see what they have with Hurd in an actual game. If his injury history over the last two-plus years, along with recent drop issues, have not yet dissuaded Shanahan and company, it’s not likely anything will before the Niners travel to Detroit in Week 1.