Jalen Hurd began his college career at Tennessee, where he played running back so well that he was ahead of Alvin Kamara on the depth chart, and finished sixth in school history in rushing yards despite leaving before his NCAA eligibility expired. He then transferred to Baylor and played wide receiver, playing so well that he was named Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year.
And it says something about Hurd that despite all that success at running back and wide receiver, he might end up playing tight end in the NFL.
The 49ers selected Hurd in the third round of the draft, and head coach Kyle Shanahan said he’s never before drafted a player he could see playing running back, wide receiver or tight end in the NFL.
“He can do about everything,” Shanahan said. “I think if he would have stayed a running back, I think he would have gotten drafted as an NFL running back. Today he got drafted as an NFL receiver, kind of. I believe if he tried to play tight end he would have gotten drafted as an NFL tight end. That’s a pretty unique thing to have. I don’t remember being able to say that about any player I’ve studied before. So, it’s neat to be able to do that and he can help us out in a lot of different ways.”
San Francisco General Manager John Lynch said Hurd played at over 250 pounds when Tennessee was asking him to run a lot in short-yardage situations, then got himself under 230 pounds when Baylor was asking him to run deep routes as a wide receiver. Hurd weighed 226 at the Scouting Combine, but Lynch said the 49ers will let Hurd get to the weight where he feels like he’s in his best physical condition, and then decide exactly how he’ll be used. The 49ers are excited about the possibilities.