It's amazing to think that Todd Gurley is still a free agent. The former Rams player is available, and a team from California may pick up the phone to call Gurley. The 49ers lost their top running back, Raheem Mostert, in Week 1. They then lost Elijah Mitchell in the game at Philadelphia. Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers are hoping that it's nothing too serious, although it did look nasty.
The 49ers then had replacement running backs JaMycal Hasty go down due to an ankle injury. More bad luck hit the Niners as young Trey Sermon picked up a concussion. It is only Week 2, and the running back room is sporting injuries everywhere. Could GM John Lynch phone Gurley to provide short relief for the 49ers? Gurley knows the Shanahan/McVay offense inside out, and the Niners don't expect him to be Derrick Henry. It could happen.
Is it worth calling Todd Gurley?
One of the benefits for Gurley is that the 49ers don't utilize a bell-cow running back as some teams do. Instead, Kyle Shanahan loves to employ a bevy of running backs throughout the game depending on what they want to achieve and the game situation.
The knee problems that plague Gurley at this stage of his career mean that he is no longer a three-down back on every drive. The 49ers don't need that from him. All they want is someone that can carry the ball at specific points in the game.
Gurley only played 507 snaps for the Falcons in 2020. However, Raheem Mostert only played 362 in 2019 for the Niners. That lighter workload should help Gurley and his knees. The scheme and playing behind an elite offensive line may help Gurley, specifically if Shanahan utilizes outside zone concepts or stretch plays to get Gurley away from tacklers.
Gurley is a good team player, and his experience can only help a 49ers team hungry to get back to the playoffs. Kyle Shanahan has Kerryon Johnson on the roster. Sadly the former Lions running back has had two knee surgeries and spent last year working with a brace on his knee.
Johnson is a solid pass blocker, and Gurley is too. No one should underestimate the role that good pass-blocking backs play. Gurley is adept at picking up blitzes and dealing with more prominent rushers.
Gurley ticks a lot of boxes for the 49ers. If the Niners' injury problems persist, Gurley could be a shrewd acquisition. Kyle Shanahan's team's success is dependant on the running game. Gurley can assist the team with that.
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