49ers HC Jim Harbaugh today said he expects running back Marcus Lattimore, who spent his rookie season recovering and rehabilitating from a devastating knee injury suffered in college, to be healthy for the start of the offseason and to compete for a job at running back.
Both Lattimore, a fourth-round pick in 2013, and defensive end Tank Carradine, a second-round pick, suffered ACL tears during their 2012 college seasons and essentially had red-shirt seasons for the 49ers as rookies. Lattimore also suffered tears to his PCL and MCL as well as a dislocated kneecap. Harbaugh expected that both players would compete for roles in the upcoming season.
"I have great hope for that," he said. "There's a path there. Nobody owes anyone a career in professional football. Your career is literally your business. But I have great faith that those men have what it takes."
Lattimore is highly regarded by draft pundits, so if he's healthy, expect a good portion of the fantasy community to put Frank Gore out to pasture. 2014 is the final year of Gore's contract, so the team is likely to continue to lean on him until Lattimore or someone else proves that they're the better player.