The 49ers took advantage of Day 2 of the NFL Draft to add a player to relieve Deebo Samuel of some of his workload.
After a string of injuries midway through last season, the 49ers moved wide receiver Samuel to the backfield, where he carried the ball five to 10 times per game over the final 11 weeks of the season.
On Friday, the 49ers selected LSU running back Ty Davis-Price in the third round with the No. 93 overall selection.
Outside the building, the running back might not have been ranked high on the list of needs before the 49ers draft, but decision-makers had other ideas.
Davis-Price becomes the third running back the 49ers have selected in the past two drafts.
They went with Ohio State running back Trey Sermon in the third round a year ago. But Sermon fell short of expectations, and sixth-round pick Elijah Mitchell took over as the team’s top running back after a season-ending injury to Raheem Mostert in Week 1.
Davis-Price joins a group of running backs that includes Mitchell, Sermon, Jeff Wilson Jr. and JaMycal Hasty.
The 49ers appear to be in a position where they won’t need to call on Samuel to take a significant number of snaps this season in the backfield, where his body has taken hits running between tackles.
Now, aside from the usual number of throw sweeps, Samuel thinks he’ll line up almost exclusively at wide receiver.
For reasons he has not publicly stated, Samuel has requested a trade from the 49ers this offseason. And while the 49ers made trade offers for Samuel on day one of the draft, the club couldn’t find any offers tempting enough to secure a deal.
Now the 49ers must mend some fencing and finally come to a multi-year contract extension that will net him five to six times more than his projected $4 million salary for the upcoming season.
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Davis-Price has a 4.48 rush and led LSU rushing last season with 1,003 yards (6.6-yard average) and six touchdowns.
The 49ers’ decision to invest a third-round pick in Davis-Price appears to be a signal that the organization doubts Sermon will be able to succeed in the team’s offensive scheme.
In addition to the fact that Mitchell played last season, he suffered one injury after another and had to undergo surgery in the offseason for a knee condition that bothered him throughout the stretch.