Connor McIntyre Aug 13th, 2019
The San Francisco 49ers had a rough season in 2018, going 4-12 and being the second-worst team in the NFL. Their season was marred by injuries, with Jimmy Garoppolo getting hurt early, Jerick McKinnon not playing at all, and Matt Breida getting hurt after dominating in the run game.
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The 49ers made many big moves in the offseason to help add talent. Signing Linebacker Kwon Alexander will give them some much-needed talent at that position. Pro-Bowl Cornerback Jason Verrett is a huge addition to an already solid secondary. They also added Tevin Coleman to try and solidify the Running Back position. In addition, the 49ers also traded a second-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for All-Pro Defensive End Dee Ford to add to one of the best defensive lines in the NFL.
In the draft, the 49ers added another talented defensive lineman in Nick Bosa in the first round as well as depth at wide receiver by drafting Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd in the second and third rounds. The 49ers surprised everyone in the fourth round and took punter Mitch Wishnowsky, even though they had plenty of picks afterward to draft Mitch or another punter. In the fifth round, the 49ers added some depth at linebacker by taking Dre Greenlaw. The sixth round was a big round for the 49ers, drafting right end Kaden Smith, offensive tackle Justin Skule, and cornerback Tim Harris, though they didn’t find anyone that seems to have a good chance at making a big impact.
The offense is loaded with talent this year, but injuries could be a big issue. After going through three starting Quarterbacks last year, the 49ers are going to be happy to have Garoppolo back. Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman provide a nice one-two punch in the 49ers backfield. Their offensive line is also extremely talented, with second-year Tackle Mike McGlinchey and All-Pro veteran tackle Joe Staley. Though the receiving corps is young, there is a lot of raw talent and, with growth, this group could turn some heads. All-Pro tight end George Kittle returns as well and will likely play as well – if not better – than last season. If Garoppolo and the majority of the offense can stay healthy, they could be in the top ten in the NFL.
This is a defense with a lot of depth and skill. The 49ers’ Defensive Line should be one of the top groups in the NFL with two Pro-Bowl players and four other young, talented players. The secondary is another strong group as well with two more Pro-Bowl players and even more young talent. Linebackers are probably the weakest position, has talent as well with recent free-agent signing Kwon Alexander and recent draft pick Dre Greenlaw. All in all, this is going to be a good group to watch this season.
Predicting the 53 Man Roster
QB (2): Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens
After the last few weeks of last season, Nick Mullens seems like the backup that they’ll keep. The 49ers will likely cut Wilton Speight. C.J. Beathard, however, could be traded due to the fact he has starting experience and has shown that he can be a solid backup, but isn’t quite as impressive as Mullens. Garoppolo’s roster spot is secure for the next four years after he signed a massive contract in February of 2018.
RB (4): Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman, Jeff Wilson, Jr., Kyle Juszczyk
After being one of the NFL’s best Running Backs for the first few weeks before getting hurt, Breida’s roster spot is a lock. Juszczyk is a lock as well, being the only fullback on the roster and a Pro-Bowl veteran. Coleman’s roster spot is a lock as well since he was just signed in free agency and a proven veteran. Jeff Wilson Jr. showed flashes last year and will likely make the last roster spot. McKinnon will start on IR.
WR (7): Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd, Kendrick Bourne, Richie James, Jr. ., Shawn Poindexter
Kendrick Bourne looked solid at the end of last year and has a good chance at making the roster if he keeps improving as he has been. Richie James Jr. is valuable as a returner and will probably make the roster because of it. I like Poindexter best in the last spot because he’s young and has shown flashes and good growth. Pettis, Goodwin, Samuel, and Hurd are all locks.
TE (3): George Kittle, Levine Toilolo, Kaden Smith
Kittle is a lock after his record-breaking season last year. Toilolo is the veteran back up, and Smith is the guy to develop.
OL (9): Joe Staley, Mike McGlinchey, Laken Tomlinson, Michael Person, Ben Garland, Shon Coleman, Joshua Garnett, Justin Skule, Najee Toran
The starting five are all locked in. Coleman and Skule are at a bit of a risk of being cut, but Skule’s a rookie and Coleman is a proven veteran so they will both likely make the roster. Joshua Garnett will need to fight for a roster spot, but being a former first-round pick will help him make the roster. The last spot is anyone’s game.
DL (4): DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day, D.J. Jones, Jullian Taylor
Buckner has been a great defensive Tackle and will make the roster. Day isn’t spectacular, but neither is the rest of this position and he at least has starting experience. The last two spots are up for grabs. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 49ers traded for another lineman before the season started
LB (5): Kwon Alexander, Malcolm Smith, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, David Mayo
Kwon Alexander is by far the best Linebacker on the team and is extremely talented. Dre Greenlaw was just drafted and will likely make the roster purely because he’s a rookie. As for the other three linebackers, it’s going to be a battle, but Warner, Smith, and Mayo all have starting experience and have shown flashes in the past.
EDGE (4): Arik Armstead, Dee Ford, Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas
This position has A LOT of depth, and it’s pretty clear these four will make the roster. Armstead and Thomas are both young and talented and made the roster last year. Ford was just signed and Bosa was picked second overall. I’d be shocked if anyone but these four makes the roster.
CB (7): Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, K’Waun Williams, Jason Verrett, Dontae Johnson, D.J. Reed, Jr., Tim Harris
The first three made the roster last year and are still the starters for now. Verrett is Pro-Bowl Cornerback when he’s healthy and has incredible talent. Harris is a rookie and has a lot of potential and Reed Jr. is valuable on special teams. Johnson will need to fight for the last roster spot, but he has more talent than his competitor Greg Mabin.
SAFETY (4): Adrian Colbert, Jaquiski Tartt, Tarvarius Moore, Antone Exum, Jr.
Colbert and Tartt have been locked in as the starters for a while now and don’t seem to have much competition. Marcella Harris seems like the odd man out after Exum Jr. played well at the end of last year and Moore is still on his rookie contract.
ST (3): Mitch Wishnowsky, Robbie Gould, Colin Holba
The Punter, Kicker, and Long Snapper are locked in after Gould got a massive contract, Wishnowsky just got drafted, and Holba’s competition, Kyle Nelson, got suspended.
The 49ers should be MUCH improved from last season. Their defense has a lot of depth and young talent and their offense is raw but extremely skilled. If this team can avoid injuries, they can probably make the playoffs with a record of 10-6.
Wins: At TB, At Cin, Vs Pit, At Was, Vs Car, At Ari, Vs Sea, Vs Ari, Vs GB, Vs Atl
Losses: Vs Cle, At LA, At Bal, At NO, Vs LA, At Sea
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images