The San Francisco 49ers head into training camp with a roster that has been overhauled over the past year and a half. Expectations are high following a strong finish to the 2017 season coupled with Jimmy Garoppolo signing a contract extension. With rising expectations, it is easy to over- and under-value certain players.
On Monday, I tweeted this prompt asking who the most underrated and overrated players were on the 49ers roster.
On the 2018 49ers roster, who is the...— Niners Nation (@NinersNation) July 9, 2018
Most underrated player:
Most overrated player:
As of this writing, we’ve got 83 replies. It is not at all surprising that Jimmy Garoppolo has been mentioned frequently. It has usually been on the overrated list, but naturally there are some defenders who think he is still underrated. The response that I can get behind is that he is both overrated and underrated. So, does that mean he’s just ... rated?
Defensive back Jimmie Ward was a regular mention as well. I saw several listing him as overrated, and a couple that went with underrated. I’m not really sure how he can be described as overrated at this point. We hear a lot about him with the position switch and because he was a first round pick, but enough to say he’s “overrated” at this point? I guess it depends on how much you attach his first round status to his current position.
Pierre Garçon and Adrian Colbert were some of the most frequent mentions on the underrated side. Garçon has had an up and down career, although for a sixth round pick, it’s been a strong one. He developed into a solid No. 2 to Reggie Wayne in Indianapolis, and then got his chance as the No. 1 guy in Washington when Kyle Shanahan was offensive coordinator. He was on pace for a 1,000-yard season last year before his neck injury.
Colbert emerged as the team’s starting free safety late in the season even though he was a seventh round pick earlier in the year. He is No. 1 on the free safety depth chart heading into training camp this year. I don’t know if he’s necessarily underrated at this point among 49ers fans, but he’s definitely not overrated for the time being.
Overrated: Jimmy Garoppolo — We talk about him in joking in some ways, but given the five game win streak after he took over as starting quarterback, yes I think he’s probably a little overrated for the time being. He has plenty to improve, and while I do think 49ers fans recognize that, it’s easy to get enamored by the win streak.
Underrated: DeForest Buckner — Pro Football Focus is on the hype train for DeFo, but it doesn’t really seem like many others are talking about him. The lack of sacks is going to do that to a player, even when he is still a productive player. At times it felt like Justin Smith was underrated because he did not have huge sack totals. The year Dana Stubblefield won Defensive Player of the Year, Bryant Young was a big reason for that, but Stubblefield got the publicity. DeFo is next in the line of great 49ers defensive tackles, and hopefully the recognition comes with it.