Which 49ers Running Back Will be the Odd Man Out?

The 49ers might have a running back controversy on their hands.
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The 49ers might have a running back controversy on their hands.

Much to the surprise of many, the 49ers drafted two running backs. They selected Ohio State's Trey Sermon in the third round and Louisiana's Elijah Mitchell in the sixth round. That makes SIX running backs currently on the roster. Either the 49ers are looking to throw back their offense to the 60s and 70s, or a couple of these players are going to be shown the door.

There is no way the 49ers are going to keep six running backs rostered along with Kyle Juszczyk. Four running backs has been Kyle Shanahan's staple, so at least one player is going to be axed.

Which 49ers running back will be the odd man out?

Wayne Gallman is the immediate thought since he has no guaranteed money. He was always just merely for depth and is an expendable player. JaMycal Hasty could also be on the chopping block as well. Since he was an undrafted free agent, Shanahan has no ties to him or any reason to retain him. He may just remain as a practice squad player that ends up getting poached.

One "out of the park" scenario the 49ers could do is trade Raheem Mostert. As superb of a runner as he can be when he is on it, Mostert is not reliable. He has proven he cannot be a workhorse running back, let alone stay healthy for an entire season. His phenomenal performances in 2019 came on the second half of the season, which is not a coincidence.

Mostert has proven to be the running back that optimizes Shanahan's offense the most. However, if 2020 taught the 49ers anything it is that they need to devalue players who are made of glass. It is the main reason they traded up to the third pick to draft Trey Lance in the first place.

Drafting two running backs may seem unnecessary since the 49ers did not have a dramatic need there, but it is clearly a move to either ship someone off or at least set themselves up for the future. Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. are on expiring contracts this season. It is not a guarantee they would return or even be worth the money should they boost their value. It is better to grab younger and more promising running backs on cost-controlled rookie contracts.

Gallman and Hasty are my clear-cut choices as the odd men out, but do not be surprised if Mostert ends being placed their as well.