The Jacksonville Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette practiced Wednesday after missing his team’s last game with a quadriceps injury, and the 49ers expect to encounter the big, physical rookie running back Sunday.
Fournette ranks eighth in the NFL with 923 rushing yards and is second among rookies in rushing. He also was heavily linked to the 49ers in the run-up to the draft.
He was one of the prospects who paid a visit to team headquarters in April and ended up being selected one spot after the 49ers took defensive lineman Solomon Thomas with the No. 3 pick.
Some observers have concluded that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan never would use a top draft pick on a running back because of the success his father, Mike, and his running backs coach, Bobby Turner, have had at identifying talented runners in the middle and late rounds or even after the draft has concluded.
The 49ers’ No. 2 rusher this year, Matt Breida, is an undrafted rookie. The team used a fourth-round pick on another tailback, Joe Williams, who spent the season on injured reserve.
Asked about his running-back philosophy Wednesday, Shanahan said there are no hard and fast rules.
“It’s been proven that you can get guys later (in the draft), but that by no means (means) we’re never going to draft a running back high,” he said. “When you find a special one and you think that makes sense for your team you should never hesitate to do that.”
The topic promises to be revisited in the coming months.
San Francisco’s starting tailback, Carlos Hyde, is scheduled for free agency in March. Meanwhile, one of the top talents in the upcoming draft is a tailback, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley.
The 49ers currently have the No. 4 overall pick.
Gould-en boot – Kicker Robbie Gould on Wednesday was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week, the second time this month he’s won the award. On Sunday, he was 6 for 6 on field goals, including a 45-yard game winner to beat the Titans. Two weeks earlier, another Gould field goal gave the 49ers a win in Chicago as time expired.
Gould became the first kicker in NFL history with 15 field goals in a three-game span. He is the NFC’s alternate in the Pro Bowl behind the Los Angeles Rams’ Greg Zuerlein, the only kicker this season with more field goals (38) than Gould (36).
Zuerlein was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a back issue, but Carolina’s Graham Gano, not Gould, is the first alternate for next month’s Pro Bowl game.
Et cetera – Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner sat out Wednesday’s practice with an ankle injury. Receiver Marquise Goodwin, whose father passed last week, was excused from practice. Cornerback Greg Mabin (calf) did not practice.
Seven players were limited: Safety Adrian Colbert (concussion, thigh), receiver Aldrick Robinson (concussion, wrist), receiver Trent Taylor, Breida (knee), linebacker Brock Coyle (elbow), tight end Garrett Celek (rib) and linebacker Mark Nzeocha (hamstring).
▪ General manager John Lynch’s son, Jake, a linebacker at Cathedral Christian in San Diego, signed Wednesday with Stanford, which is where his father played 25 years ago.
▪ The 49ers signed defensive back Trovon Reed to their practice squad. Reed, 26, spent time with the Chargers and Seahawks, two teams that play the same defensive scheme as San Francisco, earlier this year.