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ESPN ranks 49ers ‘triplets’ poorly

The Jacksonville Jaguars locked up Allen Hurns earlier this month, setting the team up with Hurns, Allen Robinson, and Blake Bortles for the near future. Most teams have some semblance of three quality players locked up for the near future, and so, Bill Barnwell decided to rank out the top offensive “triplets” around the league. We all know about the Dallas Cowboys triplets in the 90s, and since then, it’s been a topic of conversation around the league.

It is not exactly shocking Barnwell ranked the 49ers fairly low on the triplets list. He included Blaine Gabbert, Carlos Hyde, and Torrey Smith. They ranked No. 31, with only the Cleveland Browns (QB Robert Griffin, WR Corey Coleman, TE Gary Barnidge) behind them. Here’s what he had to say about the 49ers “triplets”:

Just as you could make a case that new Browns coach Hue Jackson is the sort of offensive wizard capable of making his bottom-ranked triplets look better, Chip Kelly should be able to take the limited weaponry he has in San Francisco and scheme it into a better season. This is a guy who made Nick Foles-to-Riley Cooper the most devastating passing combination in football for a moment in 2013, remember? Smith, who was anonymous during a 33-catch debut season in San Francisco, has the sort of downfield speed Kelly's teams seemed to lack in Philadelphia after DeSean Jackson left town. Kelly could rehabilitate him. You could say we're still waiting for Hyde to break out, but truthfully, he has mostly been broken: Halfway through his rookie deal, Hyde has just 198 carries to his name. He has shown little as a receiver, which won't endear Hyde to a coach who loves to use his running backs in the passing game. And while I made the case earlier this year that Kelly would be a great match for Colin Kaepernick, every report out of San Francisco has suggested that the organization prefers to hand the job to Gabbert.

Hyde had 34 receptions in four seasons at Ohio State, and 23 in two seasons with the 49ers. I wouldn't exactly put a lot on last year in part because of the injury, and in part because of all the questions on offense. That being said, he has plenty to prove this season.

Barnwell is correct in pointing out that Kelly should be able to do something improved with the questionable weapons. A lot of it is going to depend on how the offensive line holds up. And of course, the performance of the quarterback position will be kind of a big deal for the 49ers offensive weapons.

For comparison, the Philadelphia Eagles are one spot ahead of the 49ers, using Sam Bradford, Ryan Mathews, and Jordan Matthews. The Los Angeles Rams are No. 28, using Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and Tavon Austin. The Seattle Seahawks are No. 23, using Russell Wilson, Thomas Rawls, and Doug Baldwin. Finally, the Arizona Cardinals are No. 5, using Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and John Brown.