Shaun Draughn Enjoying Newfound Stability with San Francisco 49ers

Eight different clubs appear on Shaun Draughn's NFL transaction log.

The focus for the running back is to make the most of his opportunity at destination No. 8 with the San Francisco 49ers.

After joining the team on Nov. 2, Draughn rushed for 269 yards and totaled 175 receiving yards in seven games with the 49ers last season.

"I think it was definitely a revitalization of my career," Draughn told 49ers.com. "It definitely gave my career a spark. It redefined what I could do."

The team later re-signed the veteran runner to a one-year contract on March 2. Returning to the Bay Area was a welcomed opportunity for a player who had to pack his bags and uproot his family more times than he would have liked.

Instead of hindering his growth, Draughn's experiences in the league have helped mold him into the player he is today.

"It's been a roller-coaster of a career, but it makes you who you are," Draughn said. "I don't know if I can define how I can play, but it stems from me going hard on every play. I can run hard. I can catch the ball. I can make you miss. I can run you over.

"I don't really have a defined way of playing. I can't put a finger on it."

Draughn, 28, has used the previous employment in seven other NFL cities to fuel him to play his best.

Such was the case in his brief time with the 49ers last season, which included a start against the Atlanta Falcons when he was signed shortly before the game.

"To actually get to start and play running back like most guys want to do in the league, it was definitely a blessing," said Draughn, who rushed for a season-high 58 yards on 16 carries in a 49ers victory. "It's something I prayed for four years. Patience is a virtue. I learned a lot of things leading up to that point, so I was definitely prepared for it."

According to Draughn, running backs coach Tom Rathman suggested the veteran runner get the first-team reps in place of injured starter Pierre Garçon. The team had also signed Pierre Thomas to audition for the starting role, but Draughn had edged him on the practice field.

"For him to give me the nod during the day of the game to start, he saw something in me," Draughn said of Rathman. "He put himself out there for me. I'm forever in debt to him."

Reuniting with Rathman, the "hands-down best coach" Draughn has worked with, was one of the many appealing reasons for the running back to return to San Francisco for the 2016 campaign.

Working in a running-back friendly offense for offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins and head coach Chip Kelly was also very instrumental in his decision to return to the 49ers.

Running backs have been some of the most active players in San Francisco's passing game this offseason. That includes No. 24 catching several balls out of the backfield.

"They do a great job of involving the running backs," Draughn said. "(I) definitely feel like I fit in the offense."

In turn, the coaches like what they've observed from Draughn.

"He's a professional football player," Modkins told reporters prior to the mandatory minicamp. "The way he handles his business is the first thing that jumps out at you. But on the field, Shaun can do everything well. He gives you some versatility. He gives you the ability to create matchup problems and things like that."

Draughn admitted that special teams ability used to be his only ticket onto the field. But now, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound runner believes he can be a viable weapon as a reserve runner behind Hyde.

"(When) they asked me to come back and be a part of the team," Draughn began, "that to me was a huge step in my career. It's still a competition at the end of the day. It's not a matter of whether or not I'm comfortable; you never get comfortable because you never know what the situation may be. It may change at the drop of a hat. I take the same approach I have as years past."

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