The 49ers didn’t draft any running backs between 2018 and 2020. Then they took Trey Sermon within the third round and Elijah Mitchell within the sixth round in 2021, and Tyrion Davis-Price within the third round in 2022. Taking a running back in Round 3 two consecutive years seemed unthinkable, but Davis-Price sold the 49ers together with his mix of size, speed and toughness.
Matt Barrows of the Athletic detailed Davis-Price’s rise from Louisiana youth football to the third round of the draft. It’s an interesting story, but one piece jumps out where Barrows, with the assistance of assistant general manager Adam Peters, details a play that put Davis-Price on the map for the 49ers. Via the Athletic:
The 49ers saw that zip on film, particularly during LSU’s game against Alabama on Nov. 6. On the 63rd play, Davis-Price broke across the road of scrimmage and inside 15 yards hit his highest speed of the season, which in response to the 49ers, was among the many top five speeds of any of the runners within the draft.
The burst caught their attention.
“A variety of times, guys reach higher speeds because they’ve the chance,” assistant general manager Adam Peters said. “They possibly aren’t as fast as other guys, but because they’ve the chance to run 60 yards in a straight line they reach a high speed. (Davis-Price) reaching his top speed in a brief amount of space is more impressive.”
In that game against the Crimson Tide, Davis-Price rushed for 104 yards on 23 carries in a 20-14 loss for the Tigers. It was his third 100-yard game in a stretch where he topped 100 yards in 4 out of 5 contests. Going into the 2021 season he’d only eclipsed the 100-yard mark twice in 23 games.
One in all the opposite things the 49ers liked, per Barrows, was how strong Davis-Price ran late in games. A great fourth quarter is a microcosm of his college profession.
Davis-Price in his first two years rushed for 741 yards and nine touchdowns on 168 carries in 23 games.
Over his final seven games at LSU he wrecked defenses to the tune of 863 yards and 6 touchdowns on 166 rushes. He got significantly more productive as his profession progressed.
The 49ers are actually hoping Davis-Price can proceed the trajectory he set for himself during his late-season flurry last 12 months. San Francisco had gone with a running back by committee approach under Shanahan up until last 12 months when Mitchell burst on the scene and took on the lion’s share of the work.
Injuries stacked up within the backfield though and the team struggled to seek out consistency outside of Mitchell. Davis-Price might be the reply to their query marks behind Mitchell on the depth chart. He’s known for ending games strong and finished his college profession the identical way. Now the duty shall be less about how he finishes, and more about how briskly he can start his NFL profession.
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