The 49ers found the perfect answer for a running-back-by-committee approach in 2019. There wasn't one star in the rotation, yet they had the second-most rushing yards in the NFL with 2,305.
They all have the same thing in common: At one point or another, each of San Francisco's running backs has been counted out. They all have an underdog's mentality. And yet, they're all extremely unselfish.
"In our room, if you check our pasts, all of us have a similar background," 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. said Wednesday morning to Steve Wyche on NFL Network's "NFL All Access." "We all come from an undrafted past where we had to take the back road. And all that helps us because we know what each other are going through. If one person's going through it, then one person's been through it.
"And for me, I'm just now entering into it. All those guys have been through the same similar situations, so we feed off each other. I feel like that alone has helped our bond to become stronger."
Good stuff here from @49ers RB @WakeEmupJeff903 on how players are dealing with the Super Bowl loss, Jimmy G and how he can emerge as the next game breaker in the team's deep and talented backfield @NFLTotalAccess @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/qwWEKN35mW— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) February 19, 2020
Wilson went undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft. Raheem Mostert, the 49ers' leading rusher, went undrafted in the 2015 draft. Same goes for Matt Breida in 2017.
Tevin Coleman (third round in 2015) and Jerick McKinnon (third round in 2014) were the only running backs in the 49ers' film room who once were drafted. McKinnon has missed the last two seasons with knee injuries, but Wilson still mentioned him among the group.
Wilson played in 10 regular-season games in 2019 and rushed for only 105 yards. However, he scored four rushing touchdowns, good for third on the team. He also scored one receiving touchdown, and had a 20-yard reception in the 49ers' Super Bowl LIV loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
While Wilson is a part of a deep running back group, he's using a message from Mostert to stay motivated. Mostert took him to breakfast when Wilson first joined the 49ers and told his younger teammate, "It's gonna be a long road. You just gotta keep your head down and know what you're capable of on the inside and never let nobody deter you from that, and you'll be fine."
That seems to be a common theme for all of the 49ers' running backs. So far, their perseverance has paid off.