John Lynch Comments on Carlos Hyde After Rumor 49ers Are Ready to Give Up on RB

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2017

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 11:  Carlos Hyde #28 of the San Francisco 49ers carries the ball against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game at Levi's Stadium on December 11, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

New San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch said the Niners are "eager" to see what running back Carlos Hyde can do within the offense amid speculation they could move on from the rusher.

On Wednesday, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle passed along comments from Lynch, who didn't sound like somebody ready to give up on Hyde at this stage:

I think as a player one of the great things about this league and, frankly, what drove me to get back into it is that you're always proving yourself. Particularly when there is a new regime. I hope Carlos feels that way, but I also can tell you that we're really high on him and what he might be able to do in this offense. We think he can be a highly productive player, but we're eager to see.

Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst reported Tuesday the 49ers were considering a plan to dump Hyde and use the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft on LSU running back Leonard Fournette. He cited the front office's preference to land a "bigger back" to lead the ground game.

Moving on from Hyde now never made much sense, though.

The 26-year-old Ohio State product, who the franchise invested a second-round pick in three years ago, is coming off his best season as a pro. He rushed for 988 yards and six touchdowns across 13 games, ranking 11th in the NFL in yards per carry at 4.6.

He's also under contract with a mere $1.17 million cap hit for the 2017 season, per Spotrac. He can become an unrestricted free agent after the campaign, though.

While Lynch didn't fully commit to Hyde for the long term, the San Francisco Chronicle noted it sounds like the organization will give the rusher every opportunity to prove himself.

"You have these thoughts as to 'Do these skills translate to what we do?'" the Niners GM said. "He's a very talented young man. We are very excited and hopeful, just in the interactions that we've had, that he's come ready to play."

All told, it wouldn't come as a surprise if the Niners use a draft pick on a running back. They have much bigger needs, led by issues at quarterback, linebacker and along the offensive line, that will likely be the focus early on, however.

Rumored interest in Fournette feels like a smokescreen to see if there would be any potential trade interest, giving Lynch a chance to trade back to gather extra picks.

For more news, rumors and related stories about Carlos Hyde, the San Francisco 49ers and the NFL, check out the NFL and 49ers streams on Bleacher Report's app.

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