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Undrafted rookie Matt Breida has earned a role in 49ers’ offense

Matt Breida, Anthony Barr

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (49) catches a pass in front of Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr (55) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)


When you’re an undrafted rookie, you always face an uphill battle to make the roster. But 49ers running back Matt Breida appears to have earned not just a 53-man roster spot, but a significant role in the offense.

We’ve been keeping an eye on Breida since the 49ers’ minicamp in May, when he was reportedly the best rookie on the field. Now Breida appears to be the No. 2 running back on the depth chart: In Sunday night’s third preseason game, Breida was the second running back to get on the field after starter Carlos Hyde, and Breida led the team with seven carries for 29 yards.

When the regular season starts, don’t be surprised if Breida gets more carries than veterans Tim Hightower and Kapri Bibbs, as well as rookie fourth-round draft pick Joe Williams.

After a disappointing senior season at Georgia Southern, Breida wasn’t invited to the Scouting Combine. But he put on a show at Georgia Southern’s Pro Day, running his 40-yard dash in under 4.4 seconds, and he became a sought-after undrafted free agent for several NFL teams, with 17 offers. He ended up getting a $30,000 signing bonus from the 49ers. That now looks like money well spent.