49ers Preseason: Jalen Hurd can be more than a gadget player
How good did it feel to finally watch the San Francisco 49ers take the field again at Levis stadium Saturday? Of course, only a select few of starters saw playing time, but it's just the fact to be able to watch football again. Like getting a first look at the 49ers 2019 draft class. Players like Deebo Samuel who had a couple of noticeable plays was just a little tease of what is to come in 2019.
However, the one player that stood out the most was wide receiver Jalen Hurd. The rookie out of Baylor college found the end zone twice against the Dallas Cowboys in impressive fashion. His first score saw him bully his way across the pylon, which is something we rarely have seen from a 49ers wideout since Anquan Boldin. His second touchdown was a lob to the sideline of the end zone in which he high pointed the ball smooth. The route he ran wasn't as crisp as it could've, but he did his job by keeping his defender at bay while he adjusted to the ball.
Jalen Hurd was initially thought as a gadget player in Kyle Shanahan's offense, but after this performance he has demonstrated he can be more than a gadget player. That is not to say that the label of gadget player has a negative connotation because there are plenty of players out there who are impactful in that role. With Hurd, he saw a lot of action at outside receiver. He didn't shirk away from anything and his aggressiveness in both of his touchdown plays shows his hunger.
The same could be said about Deebo Samuel who practically stole the ball away from a defender after the pass had been a bit under-thrown. It's that type of fight that this position group has been missing. Hurd can play every skill position on the offense, but it was his outside game that wasn't really as emphasized. We just got a glimpse of what he can do. Now just imagine he gets more experience and more integrated into the offense. The potential is there for Jalen Hurd to be a successful receiver.
The opportunities should be increased with fellow wideout Trent Taylor out for the next 4-6 weeks after suffering a fractured foot. It won't just be looks at outside receiver, but in the slot as well now. The influx of injuries just helps these young guys out get more looks in practice and in the preseason. These players are going to need it because with the way things have been going injury wise for the 49ers. I would not be shocked if there were more on the way.
Week two of the preseason will be on Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos. That game will give us more of an indicator on these rookies and many of the other players getting snaps in for the players that are injured. Seeing Jalen Hurd and Deebo Samuel against this defense is just the right sparring battle they need to just further build upon themselves. Let's see how far they can keep this momentum going so that they hit the ground running week one of the regular season.