Journeyman Draughn becomes indispensable member of 49ers’ backfield

Running back Shaun Draughn played every offensive snap in Sunday's game versus Arizona.
Kelley L Cox/Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Shaun Draughn has spent nearly all of his five seasons trying to stick on an NFL roster.

The quintessential journeyman, Draughn joined his eighth team when he was signed off the street by the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 2 after injuries wiped out the team's backfield.

Less than a month after joining the 49ers, Draughn has become one of the team's most indispensable members. While he is not putting up off-the-chart numbers, Draughn started for the third time in as many games and played every offensive snap in Sunday's 19-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

“Shaun’s done a tremendous job. You saw that from the first day he got here, he was eager to learn this system as fast as possible to make a difference on Sundays,” San Francisco quarterback Blaine Gabbert told reporters in Sunday's postgame conference. “That guy is playing his tail off from a protection standpoint, running the football, catching the football out of the backfield. He’s what you want in a running back.”

With leading rusher Carlos Hyde sitting out the last four games due to a stress fracture, Draughn has been the anchor for the ground game. He was the only running back with a rushing attempt the past two weeks and has been a solid receiver with 17 catches in his three games.

“I didn’t expect to have this type of role when I first signed up, but it’s a blessing,” said Draughn, who was released by the Cleveland Browns earlier this season. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and show the guys, show the fans and the organization that I’m here to work.”

MORE NEWS: Want stories delivered to you? Sign up for our NFL newsletters.