The 49ers running back depth chart has gotten a couple of significant shake ups over the last couple weeks. The addition of Christian McCaffrey changed the hierarchy in the backfield. Then the trade of Jeff Wilson Jr. to the Dolphins changed the order again.
With McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell’s injury histories, the players sitting behind them on the depth chart could become important down the stretch. Mitchell has been on IR since he suffered an MCL sprain in the season opener against the Bears. He’s expected to return after the bye week.
Here’s an updated look at the 49ers’ depth chart now that Wilson is in South Beach:
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This stays the same. McCaffrey is by far the team’s best running back, though his ability to play receiver could leave some snaps for whichever player is behind him.
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Mitchell will take over as the RB2 when he’s healthy and off IR. He’s on track to return sometime immediately following the bye or shortly after. He should still have a semi-significant role for San Francisco. Wilson was the backup for McCaffrey against the Rams and still played 36 percent of the offensive snaps.
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While work for the 2022 third-round pick has been sparse, he’s likely the RB3 now that Wilson no longer occupies the spot. Davis-Price has only run the ball 16 times for 37 yards in three games, but if the 49ers have more injuries at RB they may shoot to lean on the player they drafted instead of an undrafted rookie or someone from the practice squad. In McCaffrey’s debut against the Chiefs, Davis-Price played 13 snaps as the team leaned on Wilson and integrated McCaffrey slowly into the offense.
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The undrafted rookie was a healthy scratch in Week 8, but Wilson’s exit should clear the way for Mason to at least be up and contributing on special teams. His lone carry went for seven yards in Week 3 against the Broncos. In that game he saw five of the six offensive snaps he’s played this year.
Tevin Coleman (practice squad)
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Coleman is probably above Mason on this list if the 49ers know they need an extra RB going into a game. He won’t be active on game day though unless one of the four players above him aren’t available. It stands to reason though because of Kyle Shanahan’s desire to have players in who know the offense well, Coleman could see action in a game before Mason and Davis-Price if the 49ers know ahead of time they’ll be without one of their top two backs.