There's no doubt that Kyle Shanahan has big time expectations for Jerick McKinnon in 2018. The former Minnesota Vikings running back amassed 2,902 yards from scrimmage and 12 total touchdowns in his first four NFL seasons. His time in Minnesota was spent primarily as a change-of-pace back.
Now for the first time in his career, McKinnon will have the opportunity to take the reins as San Francisco's starter. Former running back and current NFL.com analyst Maurice Jones-Drew discussed the relocation of notable backs and their potential success with their new clubs.
McKinnon was one of three running backs Jones-Drew expects to find more success in his new location. He provided some pretty lofty expectations of the 49ers ball carrier.
Here's what Jones-Drew had to say on McKinnon's potential impact in 2018:
"McKinnon's 2017 campaign set him up to become a feature back in San Francisco. The 25-year-old racked up 991 scrimmage yards on just 201 touches in Minnesota, proving he can be utilized between the tackles, on third down and in the passing game. McKinnon's going to blow last year's production out of the water in his first season in the Bay Area. Expect Kyle Shanahan to use him in every way, shape or form, and make sure McKinnon is in the best situations to create mismatches."
2018 prediction: 200 carries, 1,000 yards, 10 rush touchdowns; 60 receptions, 600 yards, five receiving touchdowns.
The 49ers haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher since Frank Gore in 2014. I'm certain Jones-Drew isn't the only one anticipating that streak to end in 2018.