NFL Noticing Coffee's Strength

Don't look now, 49ers rookie backup running back Glen Coffee is leading the NFL in preseason rushing yardage. He's ahead of the next guy by 56 yards. And when I saw his eye-poppoing 6.5-yard-per-carry average, I nearly spit out my -- ahh, forget it. That joke is cheap.

It's just the preseason and he's not even a starter, but Glenn Coffee is being noticed around the league. Sports Illustrated has declared him the second-best rookie in any NFL training camp.

Not bad for a third-rounder who wasn't selected until the 74th pick. Plus he wears one of those linebacker facemasks, so you gotta like that.

Sports Illustrated's sage NFL writer Peter King declared Glen Coffee "the first real good backup the 49ers have had for Frank Gore", and assesses him with the phrase, "Nice burst, reliable, excellent Gore insurance." King ranks Coffee as the No. 2 most impressive rookie he's seen in any training camp, behind Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Despite his being a backup, Coffee should expect plenty of carries in a Jimmy Raye offense. Raye singled out Coffee in remarks to the Mercury News for his veteran-caliber pass-blocking skills. And there's plenty of room for two heads to this 49er rushing attack.

You might be too cool to spend your preseason getting excited about a rookie third-rounder. But if you're that cool, remember that a guy called Joe Cool also came to the 49ers as a third-round draft pick.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who will have his revenge for the mockery he endured for drafting Glen Coffee in the tenth round of a fantasy draft.

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