The San Francisco 49ers on paper don’t look that bad. However, the glaring issue is the quarterback. Trey Lance was drafted third overall, and yet the San Francisco 49ers still commit to Jimmy Garoppolo. The other glaring issue is Kyle Shanahan. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He needs to be fired. Trey Lance gives the niners the best chance of winning. But that’s not all. Let’s break it down.
West Coast Offense
Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle. That is a trio of terror. Samuel got hurt in 2020, but he is tough and physical. Aiyuk is a freak of nature. Kittle when healthy is one of the best tight ends in football. The third receiver right now is Mohamed Sanu. That will probably change. Jalen Hurd is a name to watch. He missed his first two seasons due to injury and his hungry to prove himself. Trent Sherfield played a lot with Arizona, he is a speedster. Richie James also adds some explosion and we’ve seen that in the return game. One final name to watch out for is Jauan Jennings. Tennessee Volunteer fans know him well for the hail mary catch against Georgia.
Running back is a position to watch. Raheem Mostert struggled with durability. In round three, Trey Sermon was drafted from Ohio State. He also played at Oklahoma as an undergrad. If Mostert goes down early on, Sermon will take the job and run with it, pardon the pun. They also drafted Elijah Mitchell in round seven from Louisiana- Lafayette. None of the backs were able to stay consistent for the whole season. It may be an issue of having too many.
To circle back to the tight ends, the depth behind Kittle isn’t horrible, but it isn’t great either. MyCole Pruitt came over from Tennessee to add some stability. The Niners still have Ross Dwelley and Charlie Woerner. Dwelley played when Kittle was hurt, and Woerner is young and has upside. Not to be outdone, fullback Kyle Juszczyk will be heavily involved again as on of the best in the game at the position.
Concerns Up Front
Let’s just rip the bandaid off here. The offensive line is old. Mike McGlinchey and second round pick from Notre Dame Aaron Banks are the exception. The right side of the line is solidified with those two playing tackle and guard respectively. However, center Alex Mack ia 35, left guard Laken Tomlinson is 29, and left tackle Trent Williams is 32. Jaylon Moore was drafted in round five from Western Michigan. He can play guard and tackle, and could very well replace Tomlinson and Williams in time.
Can The Defense Bounce Back?
The defense was a huge let down in 2020. To be fair, Nick Bosa got hurt which really limited what they could do. This defense can’t be a disappointment again if they want to compete in a loaded division. As well as Bosa returning on the right side, Dee Ford is returning on the left side. Dee Ford is 30 now, so we’ll see if he can still produce. If he can’t, Samson Ebukam was signed from the Rams and has played a lot. Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead will clog the middle. Kinlaw was a first round pick in 2020 and will look to build off is rookie year. The Niners also added Arden Key and Maurice Hurst along with Edukam to add depth so they don’t get exposed due to injuries again. On the flipside, they let Solomon Thomas walk and he signed with the Raiders.
Next, the linebackers. They are a solid group. Fred Warner is locked up in the middle for a long time which is great news. Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair remain the pass rushers. However, they need to get more sacks to really make this defense dangerous. In their careers, they have zero and two respectively. The team opted not to draft a linebacker.
The Secondary and Final Thoughts.
Finally, the secondary. One word, yikes. They found a gem in corner Emmanuel Mosley, he was an absolute steal. He’s only 25 and getting better. But, the rest of the secondary made up of free safety Jimmie Ward, strong safety Jaquiski Tartt, and corner Jason Verrett. Tartt and Verret have an injury history, and all three are getting older. Young depth on the back end was addressed in round five by drafting strong safety Talanoa Hufanga from USC and corner Deommodore Lenoir from Oregon. Hufanga will take Tartt’s place eventually,and it may soon if Tartt gets hurt again. Lenoir we aren’t sure about yet.
Overall, the San Francisco 49ers has a chance. Lance will become the starter at some point this season when Jimmy G starts to struggle. Stout defense and a good running game is what got them to the Super Bowl. They have to get back to that as well as commit to the young franchise QB if they want to get back to the top.
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