The 49ers have tried to keep rookie running back JaMycal Hasty off the NFL radar, but they might find that more challenging after Sunday's game against the New York Giants. With Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman both out for an undetermined amount of time with knee sprains, Hasty could make his NFL debut.
Hasty shined through training camp both in the run game and as a receiver. On the field with mostly the twos and threes, teammates called the shifty back’s route running “filthy.” The undrafted free agent’s 4.55 40-yard-dash speed was apparent on long runs, as was his reliability as a checkdown option.
In four seasons at Baylor, the 5-foot-8, 205-pound running back racked up 386 carries for 1,998 yards and 15 touchdowns, and caught 79 passes for 485 yards and another score. He also had a 20.8-yard average on punt returns.
Hasty’s versatility likely is what caught the eye of the 49ers' scouting department. Coach Kyle Shanahan always has valued players who can be productive in more than just one phase of the game.
Fred Warner came away impressed by Hasty’s talent.
“Hasty, he was one of the guys that everybody was talking about during training camp because he’s got that twitch to him,” Warner said Wednesday. “His cuts are very decisive when he’s running the football. He’s not afraid to pass-block, all those things that go unnoticed.”
During the 49ers' last open training camp practice at Levi's Stadium, Hasty took a handoff from C.J. Beathard. Once the rookie got to the second level, he juked a defensive back so effortlessly that the entire offensive sideline erupted, shouting and jumping up and down.
After that practice, Tevin Coleman shared what he had seen from the Baylor product.
"His approach has been amazing," Coleman said of Hasty. "He's been amazing, he's been listening, he's been picking up things really well. He's kind of like me, a quiet guy. Once you get to know him, he's a good solid dude and he likes to work."
Jaquiski Tartt was impressed with how Hasty performed in training camp after an offseason without a rookie minicamp or OTAs. He often was seen winning his one-on-one pass-catching drills against linebackers.
“He did a lot of things coming in as a rookie,” Tartt said. “He missed spring, so to see the things he did at practice, it was nice to see from a rookie.”
In the absence of Mostert and Coleman, the 49ers will lean heavily on Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson and fullback Kyle Juszczyk on Sunday against the Giants. Hasty likely will join the fold through a promotion to the 53-man roster before the week is over.
"I’m excited to watch him,” Warner said. “I think he’s going to do a great job when he gets in there.”