Key injuries were a major reason the San Francisco 49ers disappointed in a big way in 2018. What needs to happen to avoid another losing season?
Dating back to the start of the 2014 season (following three straight NFC Championship Game appearances and a berth in Super Bowl XLVII), the San Francisco 49ers are a combined 25-55. Kyle Shanahan’s snakebitten club won only four games this past season and now look to rebound in a division which houses the conference’s defending champion.
General manager John Lynch does own the second-overall pick in April’s draft — one each in the first four rounds and a pair in the sixth. Via Spotrac, the club is also sitting on plenty of salary-cap room to add some quality veterans.
5. Solidify the running back position
Last offseason, 49ers’ general manager John Lynch made a solid moving in signing versatile free-agent running back Jerick McKinnon away from the Minnesota Vikings. He was coming off a 2017 season in which he finished second on his team with 530 yards on the ground and three scores and was fourth on the team with 51 catches, good for an additional 421 yards and two touchdowns.
But during a summer practice, McKinnon suffered a season-ending knee injury. It was a huge blow to Shanahan’s offense heading into 2018. Of course, things got even worse when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down in a Week 3 loss at Kansas City and was also lost for the rest of the year. The team wound up adding veteran Alfred Morris to back up Matt Breida, the latter leading the team with 814 yards rushing while finishing with 1,075 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns.
Still, via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra, Shanahan expected McKinnon to be the main man out of the backfield this season. Meanwhile, both Morris and Raheem Mostert could become free agents in March. So the Niners could look for some more depth in the backfield this offseason.