Power rankings are almost entirely subjective in nature, and while they have little to no value from an analytical standpoint, they are fun for discussion. It lets people find out who "hates" and "loves" their team. It's just one more way to find random discussion about the sport we love.
During the 2014 season, NFL.com started putting together rankings of the best "triplets" in the NFL. Back in the 90s, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin were widely recognized as "triplets" for the Dallas Cowboys. They were not the first big-time trio, but the label stuck with them. And so, NFL.com started ranking out each team based on their skill position combinations.
In their inaugural rankings last October 1, they ranked the 49ers No. 12 thanks to Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore and Michael Crabtree. Anquan Boldin was the more consistent weapon for the 49ers through the season, but Crabtree actually had the better start to the year. By December 31, when the second set of rankings came out, the 49ers were dropped to No. 15.
They released their latest rankings late last week, and they have adjusted the 49ers triplets to include Kap, Carlos Hyde and Vernon Davis. Also, they dropped the 49ers to No. 20.
Kaepernick stagnated -- or maybe even regressed -- in a rocky season by the Bay. With Harbaugh era mainstays Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore gone, Kap will need Davis to be the best version of himself. Hyde is a talented, hard-running back ready to break out in a starring role.
While these rankings are nothing more than discussion fodder, it does raise an interesting question as to what this 49ers offense will look like. I look at the inclusion of Vernon Davis as a bit lazy. I do think he is important to the 49ers offensive development, but if Torrey Smith can develop the 49ers deep threat, I'm not sure the team needs quite as much from Vernon Davis.
Don't get me wrong, it would obviously be a huge addition to have pre-2014 Vernon Davis performance. But given that Davis stands a good chance of playing elsewhere when he hits free agency this year, Smith strikes me as the likely more valuable option in terms of skill position performance. Maybe Vernon surprises us and Smith's addition allows him to be the threat he once was. Or maybe Anquan Boldin remains Kap's favorite receiver. Who knows, but