One of the better and most pleasant surprises of last year happened because of injury:
LaMichael James RB:
When Kendall Hunter went down with an injury the 49ers lost somebody who was averaging 5.2 yards per carry and was doing a great job backing up Frank Gore. Fortunately for the niners, they had someone on their bench who rushed for 5,082 yards and 53 touchdowns while attending Oregon. As the number two running back he ended the year rushing for 125 yards and scored his only touchdown in the NFC Championship game against the Falcons.
He is listed at 5 foot 9 but his explosiveness allows him to be a threat in the running, passing, and even as a return specialist. Some have compared the ability he possesses to change the pace of a game to that of a Darren Sproles so it will be interesting to see if he can improve and establish himself as the future in this offense.
Kyle Williams WR:
Better known as the guy who muffed two punts in the 2011 NFC Championship game against the Giants, Williams was supposed to make an impact last season but instead tore his ACL and was ineffective the majority of the season.
Williams, now healthy, was just recently taken off the PUP list and can become a dependable receiver who can move the chains with frequency. His speed also allows him to be a deep threat that could open up things for Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis in the middle of the field. His experience alone gives him an edge to start ahead of A. J. Jenkins and if he can stay healthy he should have his best year yet in 2013.
Cornelius “Tank” Carradine DE:
A first round talent that dropped to the second round because of an ACL injury, Carradine is not expected to practice with the team anytime soon according to Vic Fangio the defensive coordinator. When he does go out on the field, the 49ers will have added depth and explosiveness to their defensive line. This guy has an unbelievable motor and when healthy should be able to overpower opposing tight ends and offensive tackles.
Glenn Dorsey DT:
After a rocky career in Kansas City, Dorsey will try to have a fresh start in San Francisco and try to live up to the pressure that goes along with being drafted number five overall in 2008. The departure of both Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois have left gaping hole in the in the defensive line, literally. When the 49ers signed Dorsey they fully expect to get someone who is ready to contribute. Dorsey, who is 6-foot-1 and 297 pounds, definitely has the size but he hasn’t really experienced this coaching or system in his young career. Veterans like Justin Smith and Ray McDonald should make the transition a bit easier and his talent alone should put him in a position to battle for that vacant starting nose tackle position.