clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ESPN NFL power rankings: Considering the next three years for the 49ers

New, comments

The San Francisco 49ers are not getting a lot of love this offseason following all sorts of departures. Naturally it reflects in ESPN's latest "future" power rankings.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN is back with another edition of future NFL power rankings! In order to pass the time in the slowest part of the offseason, ESPN has put together future power rankings to project which NFL franchises are in the best shape for the next three seasons. A year ago, the San Francisco 49ers ranked No. 3 on the list. This year, it is not really surprising to see that they have plummeted to No. 22 on the list.

John Clayton, Louis Riddick and Mike Sando rated each team based on roster (excluding quarterback), quarterback, draft, front office and coaching. Sando provided the overview for the 49ers:

In what was an offseason full of upheaval in San Francisco, the 49ers dropped 19 spots from their 2014 standing in these future rankings, by far the largest decline. Last year, they ranked among the top five in drafting, non-QB roster, coaching and the front office. And this year, no team fell as many spots in its rankings for front office (fourth to 20th) or coaching (third to 32nd). The 49ers also dropped from second to 18th in non-QB roster, a fall surpassed only by the Saints. San Francisco's lone steady category: quarterback, which slipped just one spot to 17th. It is unlikely all the changes will work out in the negative so resoundingly, but at best, the unknowns cloud the future.

Sando has generally tried to keep an even keel as to the 49ers issues this offseason. As he says, it is unlikely everything works out negatively, but there are simply too many questions to say much of anything with certainty.

A year ago, the 49ers total score was 85.4. This year it is 66.3 Here is how the grades compare by each area:

I get the decreased grades for roster and coaching. And while there will be disagreements about Colin Kaepernick and where he stands, I can at least see an argument to be made for a lower total there. The biggest question I have is with regard to the front office. The team actually added talent in naming Tom Gamble a senior personnel executive. I inquired with Mike Sando about this, so we'll see what he has to say.

The development of Colin Kaepernick will be critical this season, but a lot of the 49ers potential success (or failure) will come down to what we see from the coaching staff, and how the 49ers last three drafts pan out. 2013 and 2014 in particular will need to show something if the 49ers are going to take a step forward following the departure of Jim Harbaugh.

Louis Riddick said that "people on the inside, whom I greatly respect, are much more optimistic about their chances for success than anyone on the outside looking in." I am not surprised there would be optimism, but now it's time to actually see the execution of this plan. We'll find out in a hurry where things stand.