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John Lynch: Carlos Hyde must prove himself to 49ers

Nothing will be handed to Carlos Hyde by the new regime in San Francisco.

That was the message from general manager John Lynch, responding to a question about a recent report claiming that the 49ers are ready to "give up" on the No. 57 overall pick in the 2014 draft.

"I know that when I was a player and I went through a couple of coaching changes, I think as a player, one of the great things about this league, and frankly, what drove me to get back into it, is you're always proving yourself," Lynch said, via CSN Bay Area.

"And, I think, in particular when there's a new regime. I hope Carlos feels that way."

The report further noted Hyde's litany of injuries and stated that the 49ers are "very high" on LSU power back Leonard Fournette.

It's one thing for a team to appreciate a top running-back prospect's talent. It's quite another to pull the trigger at No. 2 overall when there are equally impressive options at positions of greater need. As with most April reports, it's worth noting that this is posturing and smokescreen season in the NFL.

Hyde has missed 12 of 32 games over the past two years. Along with the durability concerns, the new regime might have reservations about the fourth-year back's fit in coach Kyle Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme.

"We're really high on him and what he might be able to do in this offense," Lynch added. "We think he can be a highly productive player. But we're eager to see. You have these thoughts as to, 'Do these skills translate to what we do?'

"And he's a very talented young man and we're very excited and hopeful -- just in the interactions we've had -- that he's come ready to play."

It's natural for a new coaching staff to cast a skeptical eye at the previous regime's players, particularly one who has trouble staying on the field.

That said, Shanahan has already endorsed Hyde as the team's starting tailback.

"We studied a lot of the guys on tape. He's the guy that's got the most," Shanahan said in early March. "... I don't think he's the finished product. There's a lot more to his game. I look forward to us helping him bring that out."

About those scheme-fit concerns to which Lynch alluded?

"People overrate a little too much with scheme," Shanahan offered, via the San Jose Mercury News. "If you're a good running back in this league, you're going to be good in your scheme, whatever that is."

Was Lynch simply sending a motivational message with Wednesday's comments? Or does this reflect doubt about the former Ohio State star's future with the organization?

Hyde was San Francisco's most impressive skill-position talent on last season's depleted roster. The new regime has more pressing needs than the backfield.

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