The San Francisco 49ers are preparing for a change in their offensive system under new head coach Chip Kelly. Up-tempo will be the new normal for the franchise and finding the right players that fit that scheme will be an offseason priority. With question marks surrounding the quarterback position, Carlos Hyde is preparing to rebound after an injury-riddled 2015 season and the 49ers must put depth around him to improve.
According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, the 49ers will target up-tempo style running backs in the NFL Draft and potentially free agency to place around Hyde. Could one of those options be Reggie Bush? The veteran running back saw his 2015 season end early after slipping on concrete in a game in St. Louis and tearing his meniscus. Bush told the Detroit Free Press that he is not retiring and will continue playing as he hopes to sign somewhere for 2016. Bush only put up 28 yards in five games with the 49ers, but there is reason to bring him back.
ESPN's Paul Gutierrez makes the point that if healthy, Bush has the style of play that best fits Kelly's favored offense. If the 49ers can get him on a veteran's minimum deal, they should consider bringing him back. Bush would not have to worry about a heavy workload and would be a nice compliment to the power rusher that Hyde is. The 49ers could also look at bringing Shaun Draughn back who is scheduled to be a free agent. He saw a brief amount of playing time last year, but lacked explosiveness on the field.
Barrows believes the draft could have a running back that will fit well for the 49ers. The team would not make a move for one until a middle round. That will leave them out of the mix for Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry who are projected to be taken in the first two rounds. Kenneth Dixon has rising stock after a good showing in the Senior Bowl. The former Louisiana Tech stand out has great speed to compliment Hyde. Devontae Booker from Utah would be another good running back to eye as he has good pass protecting skills and solid hands for catching. Kenyan Drake out of Alabama could be another target thanks to his speed and special teams abilities.
Kelly made it clear that he is a fan of Hyde's. However, the third-year back will not be enough for San Francisco. While they make offensive adjustments, adding someone with explosiveness will be a priority.