49ers Understand Jeff Wilson Jr.’s Importance, Re-sign Him to a One-year Deal

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Jeff Wilson Jrs Importance
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 25: Jeff Wilson Jr. #30 of the San Francisco 49ers runs for a 16-yard touchdown against the New England Patriots during the second quarter of their NFL game at Gillette Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Jeff Wilson Jrs importance cannot be understated. His team-leading rush attempts and rush yards had tremendous importance to the San Francisco 49ers. The team announced today that they re-signed Wilson to a one-year contract. Before Wilson was signed, the 49ers only had two running backs under contract in Raheem Mostert and Jamycal Hasty. Leaving Tevin ColemanJerick McKinnon and Mr. do-it-all Kyle Juszczyk as free agents.

49ers Understand Jeff Wilson Jrs Importance, Re-sign him to a One-year Deal

From undrafted to getting playtime

The undrafted Wilson saw a clouded running back room his rookie year and was unable to see much of playing time. In the following season, he was given a small role as he showed his ability to not only run but to be skilled to catch out the backfield.

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Kyle Shanahan got Wilson involved early as a red-zone target. Wilson scored four touchdowns in the first two games; in comparison to his rookie year where Wilson didn’t score in the six games he appeared in. 49er fans should remember Jeff Wilson the most for his game-winning receiving touchdown vs the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11 of 2019.

Wounded running back room

As the 2020-21 NFL season crumbled with injuries for the 49ers, more opportunities arose for Wilson. A mild MCL sprain in Week 2 hobbled Raheem Mostert, sidelining him for several weeks and when he finally returned, he faced a series of high ankle sprains ending his season early.

Tevin Coleman, who tied Mostert in rushing attempts in 2019 (with far less production), saw his fair share of injuries in 2020 as well. Metlife Stadium hobbled a few players with knee injuries including Coleman who would then miss five weeks of action.

Wilson and McKinnon ended up splitting carries in between Mostert’s knee injury. But even McKinnon battled “tired legs”. As rookie Jamycal Hasty broke his collarbone in Week 10 and Mostert re-injured his ankle later on. The question still loomed: Who will step up?

49ers rely on Jeff Wilson Jr

The San Francisco 49ers were embarrassed by the Miami Dolphins in Week 5, leaving the “Revenge Tour” in question.

After the bye-week, the team did some soul searching and made the New England Patriots a victim. In just his third game with 10+ carries, Wilson finally had his breakout game with 17 carries for 112 yards and adding on three touchdowns against the Patriots.

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Then, Wilson was carted off the field in the best game of his career and landed on injured reserve for a few weeks. With Kyle Shanahan shuffling multiple backs in the following weeks, Jeff didn’t have the opportunity to show what he did vs the Patriots.

Jeff Wilson Jr’s number was called again with the dismantled running back room with two games to finish the season. Following Mostert getting sidelined, Jeff had another career day with a career-high of 22 carries and 183 yards on the ground against the Cardinals. With one game left in a playoff-hopeless season, Wilson showed he can carry a load of a feature back as he had his season-high 83% of offensive snaps.

In his final two games as a feature back, Wilson had 42 carries for 259 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, four catches on nine targets for 33 yards, and two receiving touchdowns.

Jeff Wilson Jrs Importance to 49ers

While the numbers for Wilson may not be eye-opening, the 2020 team rushing leader showed his importance to the 49ers. As Raheem Mostert had the two of the fastest plays in the NFL in 2020 per NFL Next Gen Stats, the future for the two-headed monster in Wilson and Mostert is more than bright.

With Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon likely to move on to different teams, the rushing attack will be different. I’d love to see Kyle Shanahan get Wilson more involved in the passing game. All in all, Jeff Wilson Jrs importance is paramount and he has been underutilized in his 49ers tenure. When Wilson gets the touches, he will produce.

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