While this year’s draft was as unpredictable as the Jets’ offseason it wasn’t so surprising for running back Marcus Lattimore. He was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round as a 131st overall pick. Considering he almost didn’t make it to the draft this year, Lattimore can finally take a breather and let his career begin.
Lattimore played for South Carolina and had not one, but two potential career-ending injuries to his knee. He tore his ACL in the 2011 season and last season, he tore three of four ligaments after dislocating his knee. Six months later, he managed to get drafted to the NFL.
Many are wondering if he was worth a pick at all after these injuries, but the 49ers couldn’t be a better team for Lattimore to go to. He is definitely a talented player even with his injuries, but more importantly, he can grow on the 49ers.
Current right tackle Frank Gore also suffered from what seemed to be a career-ending injury coming out of college. This would make Gore a great mentor for Lattimore and would prepare him for Gore’s position when he decides to leave or retire. The 49ers have already experienced the trials of having an injured player on the team, so they’re confident that they can turn Lattimore into a star player.
Lattimore would also have plenty of time to fully recover from his injuries on the 49ers. Gore has 2 years left on his contract and LaMichael James is a leading candidate to be his back up.
Kendall Hunter was Gore’s backup last year when he blew out his left Achilles’ tendon during Week 12 against the Saints. Hunter says he will be ready to go by the beginning of the season, but that is highly unlikely.
Lattimore just started sprinting and doing box jumps, which is a good sign. Because he won’t be starting, he can take his time recovering so he can be ready for his shining moment.
The 49ers definitely got away with a steal on this pick. Lattimore without his injuries has the potential to be a top running back. If San Francisco successfully nurses him back to health, they will be unstoppable. They can afford to wait a season for Lattimore because they didn’t lose anybody this season. Their picks weren’t so important because they had little to no holes to fill.
The number one reason why he was the most underrated pick of the draft? They used a compensatory draft pick that they got from the Carolina Panthers in 2012. They forced to keep the pick because they couldn’t trade it away. They have nothing to lose by picking up Lattimore.
While there are rumors that Lattimore is redshirting for this year, there is little doubt that he will be sitting out this season. There is also little doubt that San Francisco ran away with the jackpot in round 4 of the draft. Even though Lattimore’s injuries make any team question his abilities, there have been plenty of players who came back from intense injuries, including Adrian Peterson. As long as he takes him time recovering, he should get his super star potential back.