Before heading to the San Francisco 49ers, Tyrion Price-Davis entered the 2022 NFL Draft with these labels: A fourth to fifth round projection by Lance Zierlein of nfl.com and wasn’t listed among the top 300 prospects by Bleacher Report in their final big board on April 27.
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So what did Kyle Shanahan see in Davis-Price that perhaps scouts and draft experts couldn’t identify? And why would Shanahan draft a back that high when one year ago Trey Sermon was the third round selection, then Elijah Mitchell came along as the sixth round steal by leading S.F. in rushing?
“We thought we needed another running back,” was one explanation on Shanahan’s end during his April 29 presser with reporters.
But there’s more reasonings on why Shanahan chose a violent grinder in the backfield among his first three picks for the 49ers.
Deebo Samuel is Another Reason
With the system Shanahan installed, it’s become running back friendly…giving Shanahan the belief there should be no shortage in the RB room.
“Well, one, I don’t think you can have enough running backs,” Shanahan said. “I mean, we took two last year; we were happy with our starter going into last year.”
However, Week 4 helped provide a key detail in getting Davis-Price.
“By the fourth game we’re still having to steal guys off other team’s practice squads just to field enough guys to play in a game,” Shanahan recalled. “So sometimes you can have good luck. This guy is staying healthy, sometimes not. The more guys you can add the better, but kind of the physicality that he brings gives you a chance to have a very physical one-two punch.”
Finally, Shanahan mentioned the significant reason behind drafting the LSU star before round 100: Deebo Samuel.
“I thought Deebo helped us do that towards the end of last year bringing that in, but you don’t want that to be just your one-two punch,” Shanahan said. “You got to bring in some other backs to do that. I do think we have some guys on roster that have a chance.”
Shanahan Also Receives a Backer in Picking TDP
General manager John Lynch didn’t just spend his draft weekend helping stave off the New York Jets (offered the 10th overall pick and a fifth rounder for Samuel) and Detroit Lions in their pursuit of the 49ers’ “wide back.”
He also helped orchestrate the moves made to add nine new players to the 49ers’ roster. He also heard the echoes of surprise from those who watched and covered the draft on how high Davis-Price went. Lynch, however, said the 49ers had layers to evaluating prospects like the LSU back.
“I think this always comes down to, obviously, you take into account where the league values someone, but you’re only guessing when you do that,” Lynch said to the Bay Area media. “We have a lot of different layers, and part of our process is to try to figure that out, but ultimately do you like the player, do you have a vision for that player, and does he fit something you think can not only improve your team, but is that the best fit for us. At the time we just thought he was a tremendous fit for exactly what we’re looking for. I think a great complement to Elijah, and I think we envision a great role for Trey Sermon going forward, for Jeff Wilson. There’s plenty of room for these guys.”
Reactions to Davis-Price Becoming a 49er
While there those who questioned where Davis-Price was taken, and local Bay Area outlets like KNBR who were left surprised, there are 49er fans who praised the pick.
Brad Graham of @TheSFNiners_ is another one who captured the physicality of the newest 49er:
Sterling Bennett of 95.7 FM The Game believes this move to lure in Davis-Price benefits short yardage situations the 49ers face.
Finally, The Athletic’s David Lombardi pointed out how the 49ers have taken a liking to running backs who run inside zone, with those types of runs on display below: