The San Francisco 49ers headed into the 2017 offseason ready to make a huge overhaul of the roster. Coming off a 2-14 season, the team fired the head coach and general manager, and finally made the kind of overhaul that has been necessary since the end of the Jim Harbaugh era.
With almost nowhere to go but up, the team has undergone a massive roster overhaul. It is no surprise then that they would be listed among the most improved teams in the league. Most improved does not mean anything like “best,” but when your team is awful, there is an easier curve for improvement.
Pro Football Focus wrote up the most improved team in every division. The 49ers and Cleveland Browns represent the bottom, while the New England Patriots strong offseason gets them credit up top. Here’s what PFF had to say about the 49ers offseason:
The 49ers had the furthest to go in terms of repairing their roster, so it makes sense to some degree that they are the most improved. Free agency brought over players like Pierre Garçon, a stopgap QB in Brian Hoyer, and the league’s best fullback in Kyle Juszczyk, but the draft was where things really picked up. They picked up extra draft collateral to drop one spot at the top of the draft, and still got the player they were targeting all along in Stanford’s Solomon Thomas. Thomas was one of college’s most disruptive forces in 2016, notching 44 total pressures and 46 defensive stops. They were able to jump back into the first round and get LB Reuben Foster, a player they would have happily taken at No. 3 overall had Thomas gone to Chicago as a result of the trade. Foster is the most dominant LB in the class and only concerns over his shoulder caused him to slip. TE George Kittle in the fifth round could also prove to be a steal given his skill set and athleticism.
It was a busy offseason for the 49ers, and you can see it just in our transaction tracker. The overhaul is incredible, but not surprising, given how bad the team was the past two years. Now, whether or not the player additions are enough to get the team back on track is a whole other question entirely. We’ve seen the turnover in talent, and the 90-man roster is just about set. Now, we get to wait and see what the coaching staff can do with this group.