The 49ers' third-round selection, wide receiver Jalen Hurd is not lacking in confidence stating that there is no one else like him in the league.
“I’ve been in the slot, I can play on the outside, obviously I have a running back background,” Hurd said. “So, there’s not really any limit to me on the offensive side I’d say.”
Hurd is unusual for many reasons. He started playing football as a young running back but after three years at Tennessee, he transferred to Baylor and switched over to play wide receiver. At 6-foot-5 and weighing 230 pounds, he is a big-bodied receiver that the 49ers have been missing.
Coach Kyle Shanahan has already described multiple ways he has thought about using Hurd on the offense. The specifics have not been revealed to the rookie receiver, he’s just ready to get to work.
“I’m a mismatch guy so wherever they best see me fit, I can make a play,” Hurd said. “I can do a lot. That’s not really my position right now to guess and see where I’m going to play. I’m just going to go in there, work hard and see where I end up.”
Shanahan sees him predominantly at wide receiver but is excited to see where he can take advantage of an opposing defense.
“He can do about everything,” Shanahan said. “We plan on him coming in and being a receiver and working him with that group, but I don’t think that’s where it stops. We will see where his body ends up being here over the years and while he does it, we hope we can give him a few carries here and there.”
Hurd was very complimentary about Shanahan’s offensive scheming abilities and will play wherever his head coach sees fit.
“I want to play receiver but I’m open to playing anything,” Hurd said. “He’s got a great offensive mind and I could not be more happy to be drafted and get a chance to play and just experience it so I’m looking forward to it.”
In the middle of his third season as a Volunteer, Hurd transferred to Baylor and made his switch to wide receiver. He has stayed mum on details of his departure from Tennessee, keeping that between himself and the teams who interviewed him through the draft process.
The position change gives Hurd a unique perspective that left him unable to offer a comparison to a player currently playing in the NFL. When Hurd’s plan was to become an NFL running back, however, a player he admired was Eddie George. George at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds had a very similar body shape to what Hurd had entering college.
“I was a running back so I looked at Eddie George, from Nashville,” Hurd said. “Grew up a Titans fan so there you go. He’s also pretty tall and pretty big as well.”
On the other side of the size spectrum of players is 5-foot-9 receivers coach Wes Welker. Hurd is significantly impressed by his accomplishments and can’t wait to learn from the All-Pro wide receiver.
“Oh man, I think I read he was 18 in all-purpose yards in the entire NFL,” Hurd said. “If there’s anybody that’s done it and been successful in this league it’s him. Anything I can pick up from him, receiver and all the different roles that he did.”
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As far as Hurd’s health, he has recovered from a minor knee procedure that he had in December which kept him from running at the NFL Scouting Combine.
"Knee is good, I’ll be ready to go.”