It's time to at least consider other topics, so if you want to complain about the coaching search or Jed York, please take it to one of the many other threads. ESPN released team rankings of 25-and-under talent across the NFL, and I figured it was a topic we could chat about without going directly into the other stuff that pisses people off. The coaching staff does apply to a lot of this, but let's try and stick to the topic.
ESPN ranked the San Francisco 49ers No. 17 in the league based on their 25-and-under talent. The top three were the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams. The bottom three were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, and Washington. The Seattle Seahawks ranked No. 12, and the Arizona Cardinals ranked No. 18.
They listed out the top five 25-and-under players for each team, and then included others of note. Here is what they had to say about the 49ers:
Aldon Smith, OLB (25): Smith has dealt with some off-field issues, but if he can stay on the field he will be one of the best edge-rushers in the NFL for years to come.
Eric Reid, S (23): Finding safeties like Reid is not easy. He possesses great awareness and versatility in coverage and also has excellent size for the position. He just keeps getting better.
Carlos Hyde, RB (23): Hyde is destined to take over the lead-back role in San Francisco sooner rather than later. A power back who is also quite effective in the passing game, he is exactly what this team wants at the position.
Anthony Davis, OT (25): Davis has loads of ability, with great power and light feet for a player his size. Consistency remains a big issue for him, however.
Aaron Lynch, DE/OLB (21): Lynch was a pleasant surprise as a rookie. He used his ideal length to consistently get after the quarterback this season, and it is exciting to think about what he'll be able to do with Smith on the opposite side.
Their list of "others of note" included Tank Carradine, Jonathan Martin, Ian Williams, Vance McDonald, Quinton Dial, Joe Looney, Chris Borland, Jimmie Ward, Bruce Ellington, Corey Lemonier, and Marcus Martin.
The 49ers could face a potential transition period on the roster. They have a lot of talent on the roster, but there are enough question marks that they could find themselves playing that many more under-25 players. I think Mike Iupati ends up departing, which could move Brandon Thomas into the lineup. Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial are two guys who could find themselves getting significantly more playing time with the defensive line in question.
The 49ers will have nine picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, and they could find themselves with an infusion of young talent. With Iupati and Michael Crabtree hitting free agency this year, they could be replacing two notable players with younger talent. There are a lot of questions as the team figures out their identity moving forward.