The San Francisco 49ers face a lot of questions surrounding their roster in 2016, and it will take some time to figure out where this team stands. The team was fairly quiet in free agency, but did plenty of work in the 2016 NFL Draft. Additionally, they will welcome back some injured players, and look to further develop young talent from the past few drafts.
With that in mind, I thought we would take a look at each position, compare it to various points last year, and consider whether the unit is better, worse, or the same compared to last year. The table includes the current group of players, and then a list of players on the 90-man roster for the first preseason game, the players on the Week 1 53-man roster, and the players on the Week 17 53-man roster. The idea is to compare this year with last year across the board. The roster changes from August to December, so I’m including three separate markers just to provide an overall view of the position last year.
We’ll get started with the quarterback position.
|Current||2015 preseason||2015 - Week 1||2015 - Week 17|
|Blaine Gabbert||Colin Kaepernick||Colin Kaepernick||Blaine Gabbert|
|Colin Kaepernick||Blaine Gabbert||Blaine Gabbert||Dylan Thompson|
|Thad Lewis||Dylan Thompson||Colin Kaepernick (IR)|
The top two spots remain the same, albeit with questions about which of Colin Kaepernick or Blaine Gabbert will be starting. The changes on the back end see Thad Lewis and Jeff Driskel replacing Dylan Thompson. Driskel is the first quarterback the 49ers have drafted since 2013.
In terms of players, this is mostly the same for 2016. If you’re down on the upside of Kap and Gabbert, I could see voting worse just because it drags the situation out another year. However, the addition of Chip Kelly is the reason I would vote the position is better. We can’t say Kelly automatically improves every offensive position, but his recent history would indicate things are in a better position than they were a year ago with Geep Chryst and Steve Logan. Nothing is guaranteed for Gabbert or Kap, but I feel like they are in a better position than any point last season.
Driskel and Lewis may never see the field beyond the preseason, but they would be an improvement over Dylan Thompson. That’s a relatively low bar, but Driskel in particular is interesting as a guy with a skillset with which Chip Kelly can work in the coming years. It potentially does not mean much for 2016, but the upside is higher than that of Thompson.
How do you feel about it?