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NFL power rankings: Pete Prisco sees upside to the 49ers

Who is this Pete Prisco, and what have you done with CBS Sports's curmudgeon?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers turnover this offseason has resulted in numerous questions about what people expect in 2015. Season previews are starting to be released, and as expected, most people are not picking the 49ers to do a whole lot of much this coming season.

As we have discussed ad nauseam, the 49ers have plenty of question marks this season. The team has an almost entirely new coaching staff, replacing a group that found quite a bit of success from 2011 to 2013. The team will be without three key leaders following the retirements of Justin Smith and Patrick Willis, and the free agency departure of Frank Gore. Suffice to say, it is not surprising people are questioning the team.

However, there still remains significant talent on the roster. It is not going to be easy replacing what the team lost, but I certainly would not say it is impossible.

And so, we come to preseason power rankings. We know the value of power rankings is entirely due to the discussion factor. It is a chance to see how people view each team compared to others, and then complain about why our team is too low. Pete Prisco released his first power rankings of 2015 training camp, and he has the 49ers ranked No. 19. For the rest of the NFC West, he ranked the Seattle Seahawks No. 3, the Arizona Cardinals No. 8, and the St. Louis Rams No. 25.

While the ranking is kind of whatever, Prisco had this to say about the team:

It's easy to just dismiss this team, but if Colin Kaepernick can get it going they will be better than expected. That's despite all the retirements and the loss of coach Jim Harbaugh to Michigan.

I suppose saying Prisco is "moderately bullish" might not be 100 percent accurate, but I think it can apply in this situation. It is always interesting posting Prisco's thoughts about the 49ers (or really anything). He is a curmudgeon and people generally don't like what he has to say. But his comment about the 49ers makes a lot of sense.

I would contend we can actually look further into this comment. If Kap is able to "get it going", that likely means the offensive line is holding up, and really much of the offense would have taken a step forward. He could get it going while still dealing with issues on offense, but if this offense takes a step forward, it will be more than just one aspect of it improving from last year. There is still plenty to consider on the defensive side of the ball as well, but we'll take this one step at a time.