The 49ers running back room got a sizable jolt Thursday night when it was announced San Francisco traded a slew of draft picks to Carolina for RB Christian McCaffrey.
It’s a deal that improves a position the club has tried to get right by using third-round picks to address it in each of the last two drafts
. The results haven’t been promising, so head coach Kyle Shanahan flipped the spread and went all-in on a known commodity,
albeit an oft-injured one over the last two seasons.
Let’s take a look at what San Francisco’s RB depth chart looks like with McCaffrey in the building when everyone is healthy:
There’s no question about the No. 1 back. McCaffrey can run between the tackles,
he can effectively run outside zone, and he’s dynamite in the passing game.
If the 49ers wanted to they could leave McCaffrey in for 100 percent of the offensive snaps and he’d always have a chance to be effective.
While his workload will see a sizable dip, Mitchell could wind up benefitting from this acquisition.
He goes from the clear-cut No. 1 on the depth chart to the clear-cut No. 2,
but McCaffrey won’t be on the field all the time. Mitchell, who’s been out since Week 1 with an MCL sprain after missing
six games during his rookie season because of a variety of injury issues. The 2021 sixth-round pick is extremely talented,
and now he can help the offense in bursts where he takes 8-10 carries a game instead of shouldering a 20-plus carry load.
A healthy Mitchell could be a valuable piece for the 49ers’ backfield even with less volume.