Friday, April 27, 2012

Speed is the Key

Lamichael James the New 49er
By: Brian Sanchez

     Many were surprised by the 49ers second round pick and many question it.  Don't.  RB was a need despite the number of people they have at the position.  Just because you have a lot of players at one spot does not mean you are good to go.  I for one have been saying we need a RB for a while now.  Brandon Jacobs is only here for one year and he is not exactly the most dynamic playmaker anyone has ever seen.  They have Anthony Dixon who is not really a RB as much as he is just a special teams gunner now.  Kendall Hunter is the same build as James but he is not similar.  Hunter is not a very fast guy and certainly does not share the incredible vision that James has.  Then finally there is Gore and he is the unquestioned stud of the group, but the problem is, how much longer will he be able to stay healthy (something he has already struggled with).  James is a different kind of player...

     Everyone says James is quicker than he is fast but he clocked in with a 4.45 40 yard dash, which seems pretty fast to me.  I think one of the most interesting combine stats was his bench press.  At 5'9" 185 lbs James hit the bench press (225 lbs.) 15 times.  That is some serious strength.  He has exceptional vision on the field.  He hides behind O-linemen and patiently waits for a hole to open and then slips right through.  James can't run through anybody but he has a variety of hesitation moves and can quickly cut which means the bigger defenders can't go straight at him for the big hit or they will miss.  He is incredibly tough.  He has fought through injuries and put up big games with a lot of ailments.  Can he be an every down back?  Probably not, but the 49ers don't need him to be.  James is a very good pass catcher and will be dynamic in that area as well.  HC Jim Harbaugh has certainly seen enough of Lamichael James: while at Oregon in 2010 James went for 257 yards and 3 touchdowns against Harbaugh's Stanford Cardinal.  James was also quoted as in college saying he would love to play for a coach like Harbaugh.  Well, Lamichael here's your chance.  Look for James to get 5-10 touches a game and look for him to run the power-O and hide behind LG Mike Iupati and break off big runs.  With AJ Jenkins and Lamichael James the 49ers are clearly getting quicker on offense and I think it will serve them well.

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