The San Francisco 49ers host the Carolina Panthers this weekend to kick off the season, and that means it is time to figure just what exactly the 49ers opponent brings to the table. There’s plenty to preview, but one fun way to consider the opposition is by figuring out which players we would take and add to the 49ers.
With that in mind, I thought today we’d consider one offensive player and one defensive player worth snagging from the Panthers. Considering the state of the 49ers, I think most weeks it will not be too difficult finding someone who would improve the team. Some weeks it will be more obvious than others, but in those instances, I’ll try and go with someone a little less obvious.
The 49ers have a variety of needs, and Cam Newton would be the easy choice here. There are some conflicting opinions of Newton, but he brings enough to the table that he would be an upgrade for the short and long-term.
That being said, I’m going to go with right guard Trai Turner. The 49ers interior offensive line is a problem, specifically the two guard positions. The team acquired Laken Tomlinson to secure the left side of the line, but with Joshua Garnett sidelined for the season, the 49ers are left with Brandon Fusco on the right side. PFF was not high on Turner last season, but I think he’s the kind of upgrade that would boost the 49ers line.
Turner signed a four-year extension this offseason worth $45 million. I’d rather find somebody not breaking the bank at the position, but it’s not like the 49ers have salary cap issues at the moment.
The 49ers defense should be improved this year, but the bar is also really low. The Panthers have some intriguing defensive linemen, including team sack leader Mario Addison. But I’m going to give the 49ers secondary a bump with second year cornerback James Bradberry.
The Panthers spent a second round pick on Bradberry last year, and he put together a solid rookie campaign. He broke his wrist earlier this year in OTAs, but is good to go for the regular season. The 49ers cornerback depth chart could be a positive this year, but there are a lot of question marks. Bradberry is shorter than both Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson, but I think he could fit in well with this unit.
Who would you be looking at on both sides of the ball from the Panthers that could help the 49ers this year and beyond?