Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
In some eyes, this may be a surprising selection. If you take a closer look, however, you'll see a running back that really has no defined role with the team.
After last year's postseason, many predicted big things for LaMichael James in 2013. However, reality sunk in when two major changes occurred.
The first was the return of a healthy Kendall Hunter. Prior to his season ending injury in 2012, Hunter was playing at a very high level.
It was Hunter's injury that paved the way for more playing time for James in 2012.
The second reason is a little more unclear. After igniting the read- or zone- option plays during last postseason, namely against the Packers, the 49ers simply phased this part out of their playbook in 2013.
This opened a role for James, who came from a college program in Oregon that ran this style of offense. It was fast paced and unpredictable, which suited James' skill set.
Take that element out of the offense, and it forces James to become a more traditional running back, which is something he is not.
How about screens and plays in space? Well, we've all noticed the lack of screen plays in Greg Roman's offense, which leaves me dumbfounded.
This all adds up to a player who doesn't really fit what the 49ers want to do on offense. Unfortunately, this issue may cost James a roster spot.
Remember, the 49ers have Marcus Lattimore waiting in the wings, plus Frank Gore and Hunter will continue to see most of the carries.
It's highly unlikely James will get cut. More than likely, the 49ers will try to find a trade for their young running back.