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Let’s argue: Arik Armstead is the best player on the 49ers defensive line

Back with this week’s worth of unpopular opinions surrounding the 49ers

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

We did this two weeks ago, and it’s time to bring it back. We ask what your most unpopular opinion is about the San Francisco 49ers and get back nothing but hot takes and wacky opinions and bring them here to argue against them. Think of it as a mailbag for hot takes.

We had 285 responses this week. Let’s get to it. The difference this time is we’ll argue for the responses.

Armstead is the best player on the DL

Armstead doesn’t have the highlight-reel plays that Nick Bosa or DeForest Buckner have. This is like picking your favorite ice cream flavor. Throw Dee Ford in the mix, and you have four, at worst, B+ starters. There’s a reason the 49ers defense is dominant, and it starts up front. Armstead leads the team in sacks and “wins.” He’s also been far and away the best run defender on the defensive line. Armstead has overpowered offensive linemen all season and has excelled at two positions. I wouldn’t argue if you chose Bosa or Buckner instead, but Armstead has shown up and made a play for the defense in each game.

KB hasn’t had a drop issue this season

Drops are easily the most overrated stat when talking about receivers in my mind. With Bourne, like Jimmy Garoppolo and his turnovers, his drops have come at the most inopportune times. Bourne’s is dropping the ball 13.6% of the time. That’s tied with Deebo Samuel and Titan’s rookie A.J. Brown.

Bourne is a reliable target. He’s averaging 2.7 yards of separation and is fearless over the middle. That’s why we see Shanahan trust him in the red zone. It’s also important to understand who Bourne is as a player. He shouldn’t be viewed on the same playing field as a top wideout. He was on the roster bubble coming into the season. When you look at it like that, Bourne has exceeded expectations this season. I still think he has the second-best hands of all the wide receivers behind Emmanuel Sanders.

This could be a really short championship window

I don’t know that I agree or disagree with Scott, but it’s interesting to talk about. The Eagles won the Super Bowl and injuries, veteran contracts, and a slew of other things that happened closed that window. The 49ers have a strong core but will need to make decisions on several players as Scott mentions above. There’s a difference between a championship window and being competitive. So long as Garoppolo and Shanahan are here, the team is going to be competitive.

That’s not enough, and they’d say the same.

Is 2019 an outlier? Will the 49ers be able to count on the starting safeties playing a full season again? Is Armstead going to keep his stellar play up? Will Sanders ever be healthy? You can go down the line and ask questions that are imperative to the team’s success.

Jimmy G has to be more consistent if the 49ers want to make a Super Bowl run

Garoppolo has been on target on 80% of his throws this season. Pro Football Reference has him at 14% when it comes to “bad throws.” Quietly, Jimmy’s numbers are on par with Aaron Rodgers. That said, San Francisco needs to be in a playoff mentality now, and the plays where Garoppolo throws it directly to a defender are unacceptable. If we are going to praise him, we need to talk about the elephant in the room.

It’s not as if Garoppolo’s turnovers are from exotic disguises by the defense. Nope. He’s just seeing defenders. The next three quarterbacks on the schedule will make the Niners pay if we see another one of Garoppolo’s interceptions.

Pettis is....too versatile?

Wow. This is fascinating. I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s fascinating. Something has been off with Pettis since August. We are not seeing the same type of ankle-breaking routes this season from Pettis that we saw during his rookie year. The explosiveness isn’t there. The drops are there. When you watch Pettis on the plays where he’s not targeted, he doesn’t seem all that interested.

Deebo Samuel is the ideal “Z” receiver. You can motion him all over the formation, throw the ball to him quick, and he excels when the ball is in his hands. A “Z” receiver has to be willing to go over the middle and take a big hit.

Your “X” receiver is generally a bigger target that can win 1-on-1. You usually want a speedier receiver that you can take shots down the field to at “X.” Think Allen Robinson.

In Shanahan’s offense, the “F” receiver needs to be agile and quick. He also needs to be aware of what the defense is doing coverage wise. Trent Taylor is a perfect example of an “F” receiver, as is Sanders. You’re going to get hit a lot, but that can’t phase you.

Which one of these sounds like Pettis? Many have questioned his toughness and overall drive/passion for the game. There’s no way for us to quantify those things, but everyone wants more out of Pettis. Finding the correct spot for him to develop will be a good start.