By now, NFL fans know that when the San Francisco 49ers gets their ground attack going, they become a blistering, dominant force.

The running game provided a huge assist in the manhandling of two NFC North foes at Levi’s Stadium before Super Bowl 54. Including playoffs this past season, the 49ers went 12-3 in games that saw them hit 100 rushing yards or more per Pro Football Reference. Handoffs and trench poundings has become a primary staple of Kyle Shanahan-led offenses.

This means the 49ers have a top 10 backfield unit heading into the 2022 season, right?

Unfortunately, the ‘Niners backfield unit got ranked near the bottom of one national ranking released on Wednesday, June 8.

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Where the 49ers Fell

Conducted by Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus, PFF dove into the league’s best running back units for the upcoming season.

There was one area of the backfield that was excluded.

“For the purposes of this exercise, fullbacks weren’t included. Teams with quality options at fullback, such as the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, would receive slight bumps if they were taken into account,” Linsey wrote.

With that said by PFF, here’s where the 49ers’ backfield unit were ranked: No. 27 overall.

Why that ranking? Especially with divisional rivals the Seattle Seahawks ranked at No. 13 and the usually pass-happy Arizona Cardinals rated higher at No. 23? Linsey explained:

“Similar to teams with a rushing threat at quarterback or an elite offensive line, it’s difficult to separate rushing production in Kyle Shanahan’s scheme from the rushing talent. A number of unheralded backs have put up strong numbers under Shanahan, which includes sixth-round rookie Elijah Mitchell in 2021. Mitchell has plenty of speed (4.38-second 40-yard dash), which plays in a 49ers’ rushing attack that hunts for big plays on the perimeter.

“Mitchell will be backed up by Jeff Wilson, Trey Sermon and 2022 draft selection Tyrion Davis-Price — a third-round pick who ranked 172nd on PFF’s big board.”

Yes, whoever has lined up in Shanahan’s outside zone attack has put together strong numbers — regardless if it was Mitchell, Raheem Mostert, or even Deebo Samuel. But a No. 27 …read more



49ers Backfield Unit Given Telling Low Ranking: Analyst

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