Having a key running back is crucial to the 49ers. With a shotgun offense, they will need to have a great running back to keep the defense on their toes. You can not air the ball out 24/7.
The 49ers can address this either in the draft or maybe on a restricted free agent.
Pierre Thomas or Leon Washington would be good picks. They both have a second round tender on them, which is not that much to give up for a young, versatile starter.
You might flinch on a guy like Leon Washington because of recent surgery on his broken right leg. But, when healthy, this kid can play. When he was starting for Thomas Jones he put up some big numbers, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
As for Pierre Thomas, the guy has heart. He gives it his all every down and averages 5.4 yards per carry. He may not have over 1,000 yards, but he was also sharing time with Reggie Bush. Another great thing about Thomas is that he can catch the ball, which never hurts when you are running a shotgun offense.
As for the draft, there are three running backs that I had in mind.
It's obvious that C.J. Spiller is the best running back in the 2010 draft. He is a great returner and has blazing speed to get out to the back field. He can thank Chris Johnson for the performance he had this year because now every team is going to want a bullet running back.
The other backs that would be a nice pick up are Jonathan Dwyer and Jahvid Best. Having the combo of Gore and one is these players would make it a all running offense, which is the right way to play and is Singletary's way. But before they draft a running back, they need to draft a offensive line so that they can run the ball.
It will be best though if the 49ers drafted a running back in the later rounds unless Spiller falls to them at the 17th pick.
You can't throw the ball forever, but you can't run the ball all the time either. On offense you need to have a balance of both.