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Kendall Hunter shouldn’t be forgotten in San Francisco, yet

Hunter Getty Images

For the 49ers, the running back position has provided plenty of ammunition for headlines and debate in recent weeks.

How much longer can Frank Gore keep going?  Will Marcus Lattimore take his job?  What about rookie second-rounder Carlos Hyde?  And what will they do with 2012 second-rounder LaMichael James?

Lost in most of the discussion and debate has been veteran Kendall Hunter.  The primary backup to Gore since 2011, Hunter enters the final year of his rookie contract with the trust of the coaching staff, as explained by Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.  Maiocco points out that the 49ers still have a high opinion of Hunter, who averages 4.6 yards per carry and thoroughly understands the team’s pass protections.

And so he’ll remain the primary backup until one of the younger tailbacks can knock him off his perch.  Which means that before Lattimore and Hyde can topple Gore, they’ll need to leapfrog Hunter.

Meanwhile, why do the 49ers have so many tailbacks?  At some point, a five-man depth chart will get thinned.  Unless the roster moves include placing one or more of the running backs on injured reserve, this means that someone is going to be released or traded, eventually.

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15 Responses to “Kendall Hunter shouldn’t be forgotten in San Francisco, yet”
  1. faepernick says: Jun 25, 2014 8:02 PM

    The 49ers have so many RBs on the roster because they run the ball more than any other team in the league, except for Seattle who is right there in terms of rushing to passing attempts.

    Gore is 31

    The coaching staff clearly doesn’t view Hunter as an every down back.

    James has had issues with holding onto the ball and dancing in the backfield, which doesn’t fit the 49ers system.

    Lattimore is coming off a huge injury and is unproven.

    Hyde is an absolute beast and fits the 49ers rushing attack perfectly. He was there too late in the draft to pass on, and will bring heated competition to the 49ers future 1-2 punch of Lattimore and Hyde. They will be one of the best RB tandems for the next several years if Lattimore can return to pre-injured form.

  2. goldrush36 says: Jun 25, 2014 8:06 PM

    James will not be on the 53

  3. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 25, 2014 8:11 PM

    They drafted Carlos Hyde to be their main back. Period. He combines all the best aspects of the other four. It shouldn’t take long, Harbaugh said he was picking things up quickly.

  4. jayniner says: Jun 25, 2014 9:03 PM

    No one is discounting Kendall Hunter considering he’s been solid for us since his arrival.

    It’s just that the back field is so crowded with awesome talent that it’ll be a tough call when one of them has to go.

    …probably James, sadly.

  5. jayhawk777 says: Jun 25, 2014 10:03 PM

    A group of decent rb’s but nothing special.

    Hunter won’t do much and doubt they make the playoffs
    with Bowman out, Smith on suspension, avg secondary and Kaep at QB.

    Hyde will start but lacks speed. Ron Dayne wanna be.

  6. sourdoughsam says: Jun 25, 2014 10:16 PM

    Kendal Hunter is even forgotten in the comments of the article about Kendal Hunter being forgotten. He probably won’t ever be a feature back because of his size, but he’s too good not to get 5-10 touches a game. I think it’s going to be more of a committee than a tandem once Gore is gone.

  7. raiderrob21 says: Jun 25, 2014 11:15 PM

    None of these guys have done a damn thing. Frank Gore is the man and Whiner fans have never respected him, they are always looking for the next best thing.

  8. sum_cents says: Jun 26, 2014 12:24 AM

    “Meanwhile, why do the 49ers have so many tailbacks?”

    Because other teams don’t value them very much and Trent Baalke finds himself in position to take great backs way later than they should go every year in the draft. Kind of hard to pass up Kendall Hunter in the 4th, LaMichael James in the late second, Marcus Lattimore in the fourth, and Carlos Hyde in the late second. If your policy is to take the best player on the board, as Baalke is known to do, those guys are impossible to pass up. That same policy has lead the Niners to not only be stacked at running back, but also at linebacker (inside and out), safety, the entire offensive line, and the entire defensive line.

  9. ninerfanryan says: Jun 26, 2014 1:40 AM

    I really like Kendall as our backup, but I think he is just that, a good backup. I think he’ll go elsewhere next year in search of more touches while Hyde and Latt will be our 1-2 combo. Don’t expect Frank back next year.

  10. 209erfan says: Jun 26, 2014 2:04 AM

    I love me some kendall hunter… i dont know why he isnt utilized more…hes smart elusive has great acceleration when when he hits the hole and hes sneaky strong, gotta powerful lower body… and it just seems like hes always a big play waiting to happen or like a 20 yard carry every other play he gets… i hope we see more of him this year

  11. seadawgs72 says: Jun 26, 2014 2:53 AM

    I’m saying this as a dyed in the blue Seahawk fan. IMO, Kendall Hunter is one of the must underrated rb’s in the NFL. Just as a football fan I’d like to see him get a chance to tote the rock as a starting rb.

  12. folkwolf101 says: Jun 26, 2014 8:10 PM

    Kendall Hunter is a keeper! His contributions are priceless. Great things seem to happen whenever he touches the ball. This is why his yardage per touch is so high. As a change of pace RB, his size and speed get him through holes and around corners. In addition, he blocks well, has good receiving hands, and so very rarely fumbles. His abilities dwarf LaMichel James’s.

  13. hess97 says: Jun 27, 2014 4:50 AM

    For anybody who remembers Ahmad Bradshaw FumbleGate, Hunter was one of the only guys helping move the chains, while Alex and the receivers were missing everything in the second half. Kendall was a big part of what should have been a Super Bowl team.

  14. eacuna05 says: Jun 27, 2014 6:35 PM

    Can’t believe they gave two crucial red-zone carries to L. James during the SB vs the Ravens rather than Hunter.

    James fumbled one of those carries…

  15. jvibottomline says: Jun 30, 2014 10:31 PM

    The Niners depth team wide is incredible. Most stable organization in football right now.

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