There is no secret that San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James has been underutilized since being drafted in the second-round (No. 61) of the 2012 NFL Draft. A player with electrifying speed, many Forever Faithful have questioned why the Oregon product has not seen the field in a RB Darren Sproles type role. A fair comparison as the two have similar H-W-S (Height, Weight, Speed), it’s becoming increasingly frustrating for not only the Forever Faithful but James as well.
A very talented player and one that would provide a much needed upgrade on many NFL teams, the question remains why 49ers OC Greg Roman has not integrated James into his game-plan. Whether lining up in the slot or using his skill-set off the read-option in 11 personnel, James has been looking more like a sitting duck from the sidelines as he’s been unable to take the field. And James had enough, as he took to twitter saying:
I’d rather they just let me go
— LaMichael James (@LaMichaelJames) January 30, 2014
And to be honest, I don’t blame him. A player with James’ skill-set and the competitive drive that lies within, there are many teams that would covet James. However, James may get his wish as 49ers GM Trent Baalke may trade the third-year running back. A very likely possibility as this year’s draft class has no first-round talent running backs, James would be a nice addition to a team looking for a change of pace back. So with James possibly getting traded what can the Forever Faithful expect in return?
Although he is worth at least a third-round draft pick, I expect Baalke to possibly get a future 2015 second or third-round pick. It does the 49ers no good to trade him for another 2014 draft pick in this upcoming draft as they are already loaded with 13, making the 2015 NFL Draft a more likely scenario. A few likely suitors include the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, New York Jets, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
With the NFL Draft fast approaching it will be interesting to see which direction the Niners will go in, as James has good trade value as he is young, explosive and most importantly tied to a rookie-contract.