Jarryd Hayne’s prospects of securing a roster spot for the 2016 NFL season look decent due to two factors.
He played for the San Francisco 49ers, a last place team with a five win 11-loss season. The 49ers obviously lack sufficient talent at any of the skilled positions, making Hayne a viable option. Secondly, Chip Kelly, the coach hired to replace Jim Tomsula, will give Hayne plenty of work when off season programs get under way in early April.
Kelly is also known for favouring a fast-tempo approach on offense during games, so player rotations need to be deeper in order to keep fresh bodies in the game. NFL teams that hired new coaches get an extra week of preparation in order for returning players to have an opportunity to adapt to new coaching regimes. This first week is critical for Hayne to demonstrate that he can adapt to the nuances of playing running back in a game where his primary handicap is a lack of experience at junior levels.
Hayne’s results as a punt returner where less than stellar last season, although in his defense it should be acknowledged that this position is one of the most difficult in the game. He had respectable, albeit limited, success from his 17 chances from scrimmage that included a starting role in the 49er’s final game.