Jeff Wilson

Latest On 49ers’ Running Backs Room

The 49ers’ running backs room is loaded with talent but loaded, too, with questions marks and a history of injuries. In a breakdown of every San Francisco player from OTAs to minicamp, The Athletic’s Matt Barrows laid out the situation. 

The 49ers counted on a sixth-round rookie as their lead back last year. Elijah Mitchell took over early in the season as the Week 1 starter, Raheem Mostert, ended his year after only two carries. Mitchell went on the start ten games for San Francisco totaling 963 yards in eleven appearances to break the 49ers’ single-season rushing record for a rookie. The one notable drawback on Mitchell’s rookie campaign was that he was inactive for six games, a theme that will be repeated throughout this piece. Continuing on that note, Mitchell had knee surgery in the offseason that forced him to miss all of the team’s spring practices. He’s expected back for training camp and is likely to start the season as the 49ers’ lead back once again.

The top backup running back is a bit up to debate as Barrows believes Jeff Wilson is next in line, while ESPN’s Nick Wagoner asserts that rookie third-round draft pick Tyrion Davis-Price will jump the rest of the room on the depth chart.

Wilson served as the starter when Mitchell missed time last year and took over RB1-duties this spring with Mitchell sidelined. Surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee forced Wilson to miss the first eight games of the year last season, and it took him a little while to regain his footing. Now over a year removed from surgery, Wilson should be back to full strength and provide a strong secondary-option beside Mitchell.

Davis-Price declared for the 2022 NFL Draft early after a strong junior year at LSU where he rushed for 1,003 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was brought in to shore up a running back room that’s been oft-riddled with injuries, but Davis-Price suffered a minor injury in the first week of OTAs and sat out the remaining work outs. Hopefully, this is the extent of the effect San Francisco’s running back curse has on the 21-year-old.

Trey Sermon was drafted three rounds before Mitchell last year but saw his teammate overtake him on the depth chart as the speed of the game at the NFL-level proved a bit too much for Sermon during his rookie season. Sermon had two starts early in the year, when Mostert and Mitchell were injured and Wilson had yet to return from surgery. Coaches desired that he be more decisive when toting the ball and he found himself sidelined for the last six weeks of the season, once Wilson and Mitchell were back and (relatively) healthy. Sermon served as RB2 this spring with Mitchell out, but, if Wagoner is correct and Davis-Price is slotted in as the second-string running back, Sermon could find himself fourth on the depth chart to start the season, and it’s hard to imagine San Francisco carries more than four running backs into the regular season.

If that last statement is true, and hypothesizing that the 49ers will decide to carry four running backs into September, Sermon will have his work cut out for him as he competes with JaMycal Hasty. The former undrafted free agent isn’t quite the rusher that Sermon is, but Hasty has been the team’s best pass-catching option out of the backfield all spring. If the coaches trust Wilson to return to 100%, they may be able to rely on him on those passing downs, but Hasty’s quickness could grant him favor in those situations. Plus, Hasty’s ability and history returning kickoffs adds a special teams value that Sermon doesn’t provide.

There it is, all laid out. Based on talent, the depth chart likely reads: Mitchell, Wilson, Davis-Price, Sermon, Hasty. Maybe, due to the injury luck they’ve had in seasons past, San Francisco decides they want to utilize 5 of their 53 roster spots on running backs (not including full back Kyle Juszczyk). If not, a top-three of Mitchell, Wilson, and Davis-Price seems likely with a possible fourth-spot being granted to either Sermon or Hasty, depending on need and value.

49ers Re-Sign RB Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson is sticking around San Francisco for at least another season. The running back announced on Instagram that he’s re-signing with the 49ers.

“We got business to handle,” Wilson wrote. “When you got something to prove it hit different! Last year was honestly the toughest time of life but through those times it has built and molded me to what you’ll see! Ready to slide with my guys.”

Following a breakout 2020 campaign that saw him finish with 733 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns, Wilson had a delayed start to the 2021 season after suffering a summer foot injury. The running back returned to the field in November and ended up seeing time in nine games (four starts) for the 49ers, collecting 325 yards from scrimmage and two scores. He didn’t get a touch in two playoff games.

Elijah Mitchell exploded as a rookie in 2021, and he’ll likely lead the depth chart heading into his sophomore season. The 49ers are also rostering fellow 2021 draft pick Trey Sermon along with JaMycal Hasty.

Latest on Niners’ Trent Williams

After injuring his ankle in the 49ers’ Divisional Round win over the Packers, offensive tackle Trent Williams is looking likely to start in the NFC Championship game tomorrow in Los Angeles, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Nick Wagoner. In the tweet, Wagoner relayed a message from head coach Kyle Shanahan that Williams is adamant that he will be able to play and that Shanahan would be surprised if he doesn’t. 

There was a bit of concern for Williams in Green Bay last Saturday night when he was seen on crutches after the game. The first-team All-Pro appeared to injure his ankle early in the third quarter, according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn, but finished the game with some ankle tape and some true grit. Williams was a question mark to play in the team’s Wild Card win over the Cowboys due to an elbow injury suffered in Week 17. He sat out the regular season finale – which would have ended San Francisco’s season if not for a come-from-behind victory over their next opponent, the Rams – but was able to start once again for both playoff games. The nine-time Pro Bowler has continued to play at an elite level in his second season with the 49ers, an encouraging sign given that he is under contract with the team for another five years after this season concludes.

Wagoner continued in a follow up tweet that running back Jeff Wilson is the only other player on the injury report, being the listed as questionable alongside Williams.

49ers Add RB Brian Hill To Practice Squad

San Francisco is adding another piece to its running back room. Four-year veteran Brian Hill will join the team’s practice squad, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco (via Twitter). 

A Falcons fifth-round pick in 2017, Hill has spent most of his career in Atlanta. He totaled 982 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 202 carries (an average of 4.7 per carry), adding 38 receptions for 313 yards and one score during his time with the Falcons. Atlanta’s new regime did not re-sign him this offseason.

In between his Atlanta exit and this signing, Hill spent time with the Titans and Browns. The former Wyoming back has yet to see any action this season, however. The Browns released Hill from their practice squad last week.

Injuries in the 49ers’ backfield point to Hill as an option. Elijah Mitchell and Trenton Cannon are dealing with concussions, while Jeff Wilson‘s knee injury also has him in question. Mitchell also went through an MRI on his knee Wednesday, per Maiocco, who adds the scan came back clean (Twitter link). Trey Sermon is on IR and ineligible to return this week. The 49ers’ only sure thing at the position is currently JaMycal Hasty. Although Hasty has seen intermittent work with the 49ers over the past two seasons, he played one offensive snap in San Francisco’s Week 13 game.

49ers Activate RB Jeff Wilson From PUP List

Recently said to be tracking toward a late-November return, Jeff Wilson beat that timetable and is back on the 49ers’ active roster. San Francisco removed Wilson from its PUP list Saturday.

Wilson’s return from a summer foot injury stands to give the 49ers an additional option in a backfield that has once again gone through injury issues. Starter Elijah Mitchell, who replaced oft-injured Week 1 starter Raheem Mostert, is dealing with a rib injury that limited him in practice this week.

Wilson represented one of the 49ers’ injury replacements last year. After Mostert and Tevin Coleman went down early in the 2020 slate, Wilson came in and fared well. The former UDFA totaled 600 rushing yards (4.8 per carry) and seven touchdowns last year, though he also missed games due to a midseason injury, and delivered his best game against the Cardinals. Wilson rambled for 183 yards in the 49ers’ upset win over the Cards in Week 16 last season. He will return for the 49ers’ second Cardinals tilt of this season.

The 49ers re-signed Wilson this offseason, but the subsequent foot malady stalled his momentum. Wilson, 25, is still set for unrestricted free agency in 2022. The 49ers also changed up their backfield in the draft, acquiring Mitchell and Trey Sermon. The latter, a third-round pick, has interestingly taken a backseat to Mitchell, a sixth-rounder thus far. Wilson will join the rookies and JaMycal Hasty on the 49ers’ active roster.

49ers To Activate Kittle, Gould From IR

The 49ers will have some key players in uniform Sunday against the Cardinals. George Kittle and Robbie Gould will come off IR before Saturday’s roster-setting deadline, Kyle Shanahan said Friday.

Kittle has been down because of a calf injury. The All-Pro tight end attempted to play through the issue in Week 4, but the 49ers opted to shut him down the following week. Gould’s activation became fairly clear after the 49ers waived fill-in Joey Slye earlier this week.

Since signing his big-ticket extension last year, Kittle has struggled to stay on the field. He missed time because of a knee sprain and a fractured foot last season. Those injuries limited Kittle to eight games in 2020. He has missed three thus far this year. This will help a passing attack that may be without Deebo Samuel.

Battling a calf injury, Samuel is questionable for Week 9. Shanahan said his top receiver’s injury worsened this week, via the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman (on Twitter). The 49ers missing Samuel would be rather significant, given his dominance to start the season. Samuel has 819 receiving yards, topping Jerry Rice‘s through-seven-games franchise best. Samuel, of course, joined Kittle on the injury front last season. He missed nine games in 2020.

Shanahan added Jeff Wilson has a chance to make his season debut in Week 9. Previously given a late-November return timetable, Wilson has “kind of taken off,” in his recovery from a foot injury as of late, Shanahan said (per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, on Twitter). The 49ers re-signed the veteran running back this offseason, but he suffered the injury over the summer.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/1/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Baltimore Ravens

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Latest On 49ers RB Jeff Wilson

The 49ers have started three running backs through six weeks, and the organization is hoping they’ll be adding another option at the position before long. 49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters that running back Jeff Wilson should be back from a knee injury before the end of the season.

“It’s not in the next couple weeks, but kind of beyond that,” Lynch said (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area on Twitter). “He’s doing really well. He’s had some real positive breakthroughs in the last couple of weeks in his recovery.”

Matt Barrows of The Athletic writes that Wilson is only a few weeks away from practicing, with the organization targeting a late-November return.

Wilson had a breakout campaign in 2020, finishing with 733 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns in 12 games (three starts). The running back landed on injured reserve prior to the 2021 season, and his timeline has since been pushed back a bit. Per Maiocco (on Twitter), Wilson was initially expected to return around midseason, but now it sounds like he’s eyeing a late-season return.

Raheem Mostert, Trey Sermon, and Elijah Mitchell have all seen stints as the 49ers starting running back this season, and none of those players have been in uniform for all six games. Mitchell currently leads the running back corps with 63 carries.

Several Teams Looking Into Marlon Mack

The Colts have used Marlon Mack sparingly this season, but the fifth-year running back continues to generate some interest ahead of the Nov. 2 trade deadline. Linked to Mack earlier this month, the Chiefs have some company on this front.

While the Chiefs continue to be connected to the former 1,000-yard rusher, USA Today’s Josina Anderson notes the 49ers, Panthers and Saints have also checked in with the Colts on Mack recently (Twitter link). Mack re-signed with the Colts on a one-year deal but has been on the trade block for a bit now.

Indianapolis has Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines locked in as its long-term duo, with Mack logging just 25 carries thus far this season. Mack suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon in Week 1 of last season but has recovered. Taylor gained control of the Colts’ backfield during Mack’s hiatus, and Indy agreed to make an effort at finding Mack a landing spot via trade.

Carolina is without Christian McCaffrey for at least two more games, having placed him on IR with a troublesome hamstring injury last week. Fourth-round rookie Chuba Hubbard leads the Panthers’ backfield, which lost Mike Davis in free agency in March. The Saints released Latavius Murray before Week 1 and are without backup Tony Jones for the time being, while the 49ers have run into a litany of injury issues at running back. San Francisco lost Raheem Mostert for the year, and Kyle Shanahan is targeting November for Jeff Wilson (PUP) to return from his foot injury. The 49ers have also seen promising rookie Elijah Mitchell and veteran JaMycal Hasty run into injury trouble.

Prior to Mack’s Achilles setback, he totaled 1,999 rushing yards between the 2018 and ’19 seasons. Behind Taylor this year, Mack has gained 97 yards on 25 carries. The 25-year-old back is due less than $750K in base salary the rest of the way.

49ers Get Roster Down To 53

The 49ers made a long list of transactions today to get down to 53 players. Several of these moves have previously been reported, but for posterity’s sake, we’ve listed them all below.

Placed on reserve/PUP list

Placed on IR



Placed on Reserved/Suspended List