The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the 2017 NFL draft over the weekend, and it was an exciting time. The team emerged with two of the top three players on their board, and added a second and third round pick in the 2018 NFL draft. There is a lot to do to get this thing turned around, but optimism surrounds the 49ers for the first time in a few years.
If you are a visitor to SBNation.com, you might noticed a fresh new look. We are making a move to the future, and the new look is part of it. With that in mind, it is conveniently enough a good time to look to the 49ers future. The end of the draft means we have a mostly completed one-year overhaul to the roster. Plenty will change, but in the meantime, we have quite a few players that could prove to be cornerstone players for the future. With that in mind, I thought I’d put together five prediction for what will have happened by the time 2022 arrives.
Kirk Cousins will not be the 49ers quarterback
The 49ers invested a third round pick in C.J. Beathard. Kyle Shanahan really liked him, and moved into the back end of the third round to land him. A third round pick is not quite the hammer of a first round pick, but you want an eventual starter from that kind of pick. Kirk Cousins is scheduled to become a free agent next offseason, and while he could get franchised a third straight year, odds are he gets a longterm deal somewhere. Nobody thinks Beathard is a lock to become the next great 49ers quarterback, but the 49ers think highly of him. I don’t know who will be the 49ers QB in 2022, but I don’t think it will be Cousins.
Joe Williams will have at least one 1,000-yard rushing season under his belt
The 49ers were regularly connected to Leonard Fournette, but as a lot of fans expected, they waited a bit to land a running back. Mike Shanahan had a strong history of turning mid-to-late round picks into 1,000 yard rushers. I have a feeling Williams is going to be Kyle Shanahan’s first as a head coach.
Ahkello Witherspoon and Rashard Robinson will be the 49ers starting cornerbacks
The 49ers added Robinson in the fourth round last year, and Witherspoon in the third round this year. They have that prototypical size to become the kinds of press corners the 49ers want in their new look defense. Robinson’s slender frame is a bit of a concern, but that aside, I think the 49ers have two options to build around for the next five years.
John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan will have each received a contract extension
I can’t help but be excited about the 49ers new brain trust and where things stand. They have yet to “hit” on a single pick or free agent, so some might think this prediction is crazy. But they seem to have a solid process and strong dynamic. It is something to build around, and I foresee success from it. Speaking of which...
The 49ers will compete in a Super Bowl
Sure, I’ll go out there and say it. Why not? I could say “win” a Super Bowl, but predicting a single game is a lot tougher than saying, they’ll have the kind of success to advance in the playoffs overall. I think we see the 49ers back in the Super Bowl within the next five years, and even if not that, they will be at least a regular playoff team in that time. We need to actually see these players hit the field, but for the time being, I can’t help but be optimistic about the state of the 49ers under John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan.
Which of the following is most likely to not be true in the year 2022?
This poll is closed
Kirk Cousins will NOT be 49ers QB
Joe Williams will be 1,000-yard rusher
Witherspoon, Robinson will be starting CBs
Lynch, Shanahan will both have received extensions
49ers will have competed in a Super Bowl