49ers Held Private Workout With ‘One of the Draft’s Top Backs:’ Report

Zach Charbonnet

Getty Zach Charbonnet runs the 40-yard dash at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.

How intriguing is UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft? Even teams with a stout ground attack like the San Francisco 49ers are getting him to show his skills in front of them.

Per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network on Wednesday, April 19, the Bruins star has officially wrapped up his top 30 visits — but included was a private session with the 49ers.

“UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet wrapped up his visits with the Bucs today, per source. Charbonnet also had ’30’ visits with the Cowboys, Chargers, Bills, Bears and Raiders and worked out privately for the 49ers,” Pelissero reported. “One of the draft’s top backs.”

Intrigue Builds for Charbonnet in the Bay Area

Running back may no longer be a top five draft position in the first round. Last year’s draft saw Breece Hall as the first backfield option taken — at No. 36 overall to the New York Jets.

Charbonnet may not be considered a first round talent for the 2023 draft. But the way he runs and punishes people on the field has NFL fans and analysts intrigued, including those speaking on the 49ers.

“Shanahan and Lynch loving that UCLA offense?” fantasy football analyst Mase Riney asked on Twitter.

“The 49ers are going to draft another running back in the third round, aren’t they?” asked 49ers analyst for Blue Wire Pods Rob Lowder.

There is this thought, though, from Kyle Posey of SB Nation: The 49ers working out Charbonnet could mean the end for one or two members of the 49ers’ backfield — particularly their lead rusher from not too long ago.

“The RBs the 49ers are meeting with are going in the third round in mock drafts. If they take a RB in the third round for the third year in a row, (Elijah) Mitchell or TDP (Ty Davis-Price) have to be on their way out,” Posey said on Twitter. “Mitchell has the highest value, but not sure they’d fetch anything better than a Day three pick.”

Mitchell, a 2021 sixth rounder, stepped up amid a myriad of backfield injuries including for former starter Raheem Mostert. He ended up with 963 rushing yards in stepping in for the 49ers his rookie season. But his numbers dipped to 279 yards following the trade to get Christian McCaffrey.

Charbonnet Brings Throwback Running Style

Again, the very thought of Charbonnet in the 49ers’ offense has the visions of more fireworks going off in the backfield.

After all, Charbonnet brings the style of running coveted by NFL teams to go along with his impressive production from his UCLA days.

“Upright runner with outstanding body composition and consecutive seasons of impressive production for the Bruins,” was the first sentence from draft expert Lance Zierlein of nfl.com in his evaluation. “Charbonnet is a bit of a long-strider with slightly below average foot quickness. He is much more effective when allowed to open up and build downhill momentum.”

Zierlein adds how Charbonnet is a patient runner who lets his blocking get set up. From there, it’s north-south punishment from the 6-foot, 214-pounder.

Charbonnet is the latest Bruin to meet privately with the 49ers — joining quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and one of his lead blockers Atonio Mafi.

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