Offseason analysis of offensive potential generally focuses on the quarterback more so than the skill position players around him. Recently, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell decided to swing the pendulum the opposite way. He ranked all 32 teams based on the weapons around the quarterback. He broke them into eight tiers, with the idea being that you could move teams around within the tier with relative ease, but the tiers split groups up into definitive talents.
It is not surprising the San Francisco 49ers ranked in the bottom tier. They ranked No. 31, with only the New York Jets behind them. The Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams joined them in the bottom tier. Here’s what Barnwell had to say about the 49ers.
The two building block weapons in San Francisco appeared to be Carlos Hyde and Vance McDonald, but neither player may survive training camp under the new regime of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. Import Pierre Garçon provides familiarity with Shanahan's scheme, but the big question mark is wildly expensive Kyle Juszczyk, whom the Niners apparently intend to employ as if he were some combination of Darren Sproles and a tank.
I think people are overreacting to the notion that carlos Hyde might not survive training camp. A trade is certainly not out of the realm of the possible, but if he is not traded, I don’t see him getting cut. And considering we have heard all sorts of positive things about his weight and speed, he seems to be pushing firmly in the other direction.
The 49ers focused on veterans in adding to the offense, but George Kittle and Trent Taylor are two rookies who could be quick impact players. Kittle has been getting plenty of first team rotation, while Taylor is seemingly catching everything thrown his way. It’s a long way from the start of the regular season, but those are two guys who could potentially shake up the offensive arsenal. The second and third preseason game depth charts will be interesting to see for their roles.
And of course, the veterans are going to offer plenty for this new-look offense. Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin are likely the top two receivers to watch in this group. Goodwin might be the real wild card of this offense. He is off to a strong start in training camp, but now we wait to see how it translates into preseason and then regular season game action. He is getting a chance to run more routes and be a more integral part of the offense than his time in Buffalo. If that can translate into game action, the 49ers offense might not be half bad.