The San Francisco 49ers field one of the best rosters in the NFL, and have a true claim to "best player in the league at this position" at multiple positions. Inside linebacker is the easiest example to point to with Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, who I believe are the No. 1 and No. 2 linebackers in the entire NFL.
As such, we can pretty much always put Willis and Bowman as potential candidates to win defensive player of the year awards. If the NFL wasn't so biased toward quarterbacks, we could list them as candidates for MVP as well, but that's never going to happen.
But is there anybody else on the roster we can put into contention for one of those "of the year" awards? This includes MVP, offensive and defensive players of the year, and offensive and defensive rookies of the year.
In that order, it's pretty obvious that Colin Kaepernick is San Francisco's best chance at MVP. Or at least, that's what I think. Kaepernick represents the best chance at MVP and offensive player of the year. The only other offensive player I'd suggest really has a chance: tight end Vernon Davis. If he steps up in the way the team needs him to step up, he could have a record-breaking season.
As far as offensive rookies go, it wouldn't be THAT shocking if Vance McDonald won that award given the amount of playing time he's likely to receive. However, of the rookie awards, I'm thinking the defensive side of the ball is San Francisco's best shot.
I'm talking, of course, of Eric Reid. He's set to be the starter at free safety from day one and there's plenty of opportunities to make big, flashy plays to get some hype going in his direction. I don't know how likely I consider it, but Reid was a big-play guy in college and he'll probably carry that same boom-or-bust potential on every play that made Dashon Goldson so popular.
What players do you think could earn the "of the year" awards? Any surprises?