It is always tough to see players get injured during NFL training camp, especially when that player is expected to be featured more this season.
Yesterday, Vick Ballard of the Indianapolis Colts was the first big name to go down in training camp. Today, Kendall Hunter of the San Francisco 49ers tore his ACL, marking another big name that went down. Hunter’s injury, however, means that rookie Carlos Hyde will be featured more prominently in the 49ers’ offense.
Hyde is a rookie who played for Ohio State for the last four years. He was touted as the best running back in the 2014 draft class, but was not the first running back taken off the board. Hyde was expected to be the third running back on the depth chart behind Frank Gore and Hunter.
The 49ers have expressed interest in limiting Gore’s workload this year. Gore, who is 31 years old, is clearly on the tail-end of his career. Gore has been a workhorse for the 49ers since he was drafted in 2005. In eight of his nine years in the league, Gore has had over 200 attempts while also rushing for 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons.
However, it is clear that Gore is starting to slow down and that is why Hyde was drafted. Hyde is the running back of the future, but he wasn’t expected to jump into the fire that early. Hunter was expected to ease the workload for Gore, but with his injury, it means that Hyde will now get more carries as a rookie.
It’s not necessarily an ideal situation for the 49ers’ rookie ball carrier, but San Francisco fans will be happy to get an early glimpse at their team’s running back of the future.