San Francisco 49ers: Jalen Hurd a major breakout candidate

Jalen Hurd, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jalen Hurd, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Jalen Hurd is set up for a major breakout season with the San Francisco 49ers.

Rookie wide receiver Jalen Hurd came in and made an immediate impact for the San Francisco 49ers last preseason, catching three passes for 31 yards and two touchdowns in their first preseason game. Hurd suited up for the 49ers the next week, but suffered a back injury that forced him out of action for the rest of the season. Healthy again, Hurd is in a position to break out in a big way for the 49ers this season.

San Fran added Hurd to the mix as a third-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. He was a tremendous running back at Tennessee early in his college career, before transferring to Baylor and making the move to wide receiver. Hurd piled up 69 receptions for 946 yards and four touchdowns in his only college season at wide receiver, using his great combination of size and athleticism to catch the attention of NFL scouts.

Hurd is an exciting playmaker on the outside who shows smooth route-running ability and impressive elusiveness in the open field. He does not have great speed for the position, but Hurd is a big-bodied receiver (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) who shows impressive contested-catch upside and has obvious ability as a run after catch receiver. Hurd shows tremendous instincts with the ball in his hands, which is not surprising due to his history as a running back.

Hurd returns to the San Francisco 49ers lineup and could immediately step into a major role. He will undoubtedly be battling with first-round rookie Brandon Aiyuk for snaps, but the early-season injury to Deebo Samuel should help Hurd get on the field. The question is whether Hurd can make the most out of this opportunity.

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With Kyle Shanahan scheming him into space and Hurd’s obvious run after catch ability, I like his chances to come out and be an immediate playmaker for the 49ers this season. Hurd is a tremendous talent at the wide receiver position who undoubtedly has some exciting upside. Keep an eye on him as a big-time breakout player this season.