With Sermon cut, 49ers counting on Mason continuing to shine originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Jordan Mason might be a new name to some, but the rookie running back was expected to be a standout before the 49ers signed him as an undrafted free agent following the 2022 NFL Draft.
When Anthony Lynn spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area during OTAs, the running backs coach said to keep an eye on the young ball carrier from Georgia Tech. Mason’s college stats might not have been impressive, but that was a result of splitting carries with teammate, and now Alabama running back, Jahmyr Gibbs.
“Don’t count out J. P., our free-agent rookie,” Lynn said in May. “He’s a good back. He’s not going to impress much outside in shorts but when we get the pads on, you’ll see him show up a little bit.”
Mason’s middle name is Ponchez, hence the moniker J.P. The rookie appeared in all three of the 49ers’ preseason contests, registering 19 carries for 94 yards, giving him an average of just under five yards-per-carry.
Now that the 49ers have waived 2021 third-round pick Trey Sermon, Mason is set to have a bigger role in the offense. The five-foot-11, 223-pound back joins Elijah Mitchell, Jeff Wilson Jr. and fellow rookie Ty Davis-Price on the roster.
Mason had his choice of teams to join as a high-value UDFA, but believed that the 49ers were the best place to showcase his abilities. Clearly, it has worked out for both parties as the Tennessee native is now part of the final 53-man roster.
“This just fit my running style so I was like, ‘Why not? Let’s go.’ ” Mason said a week ago. “Eight yards deep behind the QB, let’s go wide zone, let’s go inside zone. I think that fits my run style.”
Lynn shared that Kyle Shanahan’s offenses often feature lesser-known backs because of the head coach’s commitment to the run game.
“The Shanahans have always been committed to the run game,” Lynn said. “They build their team that way. When you have that belief, and commitment, you work it more, you practice it more. In live games, these backs get used to that.
“A lot of times these backs go to other places and you never hear from them again because they aren’t committed to running the football like we are.”
With what Mason has shown in the preseason, there is a good chance that the football world will be hearing from him quite a bit in 2022.