49ers: Why RB Jerick McKinnon fits Kyle Shanahan’s offense

The San Francisco 49ers just added some much-needed arsenal to their offense and backfield with the signing of former Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon. He’s expected to sign a massive deal for a running back at four-years and $30 million–an average of $7.5 million per year, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter


How did we get here?

Two of the top running back’s on the market were off the board; Carlos Hyde ( former 49er) and Deion Lewis ( former New England Patriot). 

Here comes the 30 million dollar man

Jerick McKinnonRB San Francisco 49ers

Height: 5-9 Weight: 205   Age: 25

The fourth-highest average salary of all NFL running backs (per Spotrac).

PFF Grade: 84.6 overall, 79.9 running the ball, 82.4 receiving and 75.2 in pass blocking 


In his four seasons, McKinnon has played in 58 games, starting 14 of those contests, accounting for 1,918 yards rushing (570 yards coming in 2017) on 474 attempts at 4.0 yards per rush and seven (three coming in 2017) rushing touchdowns. McKinnon has also caught 142 balls (51 coming in 2017) for 984 yards at 6.9 yards per catch and five (two coming from 2017) receiving touchdowns. 

Why He Fits

McKinnon is an efficient dual-threat coming out the backfield with a 75.0% catching percentage in 2017. He ranked 19th among running backs, with 1.54 yards per route run. And his pass blocking efforts and efficiency (92.2) ranks fourth amongst all free agent running backs. 

He also brings a couple years of playoff experience to the table and his 2017 signature playoff game shouldn’t be overlooked; 74 rushing yards on 18 attempts at 4.1 yards per rush and a touchdown. And his production didn’t stop there he added 14 catches for 92 yards.

Interesting to note: McKinnon’s overall Pro Football Focus grade of 84.6 ranks eighth best amongst NFL running backs (one spot behind Bell’s 85.4). 

He may be perceived as nothing more than a “change-of-pace” running back, but you can’t deny his talent and production or the fact that he forced a missed tackle every 5.0 carries, eighth-best in the NFL.

McKinnon is tailor-made for head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system. He also brings some value as a kick returner with 336 yards on 13 returns for a career average of 25.8.

Questions and Concerns

Could the 49ers have drafted a player like McKinnon? Did General manager John Lynch and his team overpay for McKinnon’s talents? Is McKinnon an every-down running back? Should the 49ers have just kept Hyde for 15 million over three years?

To be continued… 

Recent Niners Live article alert: Why Former Giants’ C-G Weston Richburg fits Kyle Shanahan’s offense

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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football Focus49ers.comESPN.comNFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Content Creator, player break down specialist, Co-Editor, Sequoia Sims