© Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The 49ers came one quarter away from winning the big one last year, but will bring a roster absolutely stacked with talent into the 2020 season to try and finish the job.
Our friends at ESPN ranked the rosters of all 32 NFL teams heading into next year, and San Francisco landed at number three on the list, behind the Ravens (1) and Saints (2) but just ahead of the Super Bowl Champion Chiefs (4). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their shiny new quarterback round out the top five.
ESPN projected starters for every team and used the season-long grades Pro Football Focus gave out to rank the rosters. They pointed to the front four as the largest strength on the roster despite the departure of DeForest Buckner.
Richard Sherman was an All-Pro in 2019, but the article stated the secondary as a group that could improve in 2020.
“Richard Sherman was excellent during the 2019 season — earning a 90.5 coverage grade — but he turned 32 in March. Emmanuel Moseley likely will get the nod at the other outside spot, and while he played reasonably well in his opportunity last season as the starter (68.0 coverage grade), he’s also a 2018 undrafted free agent without a ton of starting experience.”
The biggest departure of the offseason might have been surefire Hall-of-Famer Joe Staley hanging up the cleats. Surefire Hall-of-Famer Trent Williams slides into his spot, but the article names the position as the X factor for the year.
“Williams sat out the entire 2019 season, but he earned eight consecutive grades of 75.0 or higher from 2011 through 2018, finishing six of those seasons above the 80.0 threshold. It bears seeing how his recent injuries and time away from the field will affect his play, but the move to acquire him allows the 49ers to maintain one of the best starting tackle duos in the NFL.”
The Seahawks (15), Rams (22), and Cardinals (24) all ended up well behind the incumbent NFC West Champion 49ers. The Las Vegas Raiders fell one spot below the Cardinals at 25.