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Looking back at the 49ers biggest offseason storylines...In 2018

Super Bowl!

NFC Championship - Minnesota Vikings v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

We are in one of those dead times during the NFL offseason. With OTAs and minicamp in the rearview, there won’t be any football activities during the next six weeks. Knowing that there will be dull moments, expect plenty of speculation, making something a story that isn’t, and virtually anything that the media can spin into a story.

The majority of these stories never amount to anything. It’s the offseason. Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, demanded by the people, there is a constant want for news even when there isn’t any to report on. The San Francisco 49ers 2019 offseason has been full of stories. Their first three draft picks are full of intrigue. The free agents the team brought in are fascinating as well.

The point of this, if you haven’t caught on yet, is that most of the stories you’ll read rarely predict “what’s to come.” I wanted to go back to June of 2018 and see what the media was saying headed into training camp. What were the storylines?

June 2018

On this day a year ago, Fooch wrote: “What’s your favorite burger?” That is the content I need in my lives. Madden ratings and coaches speak where players are in the best shape of their life? Not so much.

When players go at each other on twitter? It’s our version of reality TV. We can’t look away. Remember last year when Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey said ‘It was a lot of scheme stuff. It wasn’t like he was dicing us up.’ “The bulletin board” material is enjoyable in a gossip/E! news way.

The main story last June was the 49ers extending Laken Tomlinson. Here were three storylines for the Niners last year. These are the overly optimistic stories that take place.

Jerick McKinnon: Entire 49ers team talking Super Bowl.”

“In the season, you’re going to have ups and downs,” McKinnon said. “That’s just part of a 17-week NFL season. But at the end of it, you’ve just got to keep the eye on the prize, and that’s the Super Bowl. So whatever it is that happens, we have to stick together as a team to get to that common goal.”

There was more. McKinnon referenced an outing with the Navy SEALS where McKinnon said the team felt great about their Super Bowl chances.

Which six 49ers helped themselves the most during the offseason?

The six players were Jimmy Garoppolo, Deforest Buckner, Ahkello Witherspoon, Jerick McKinnon, Adrian Colbert, and Dante Pettis. The highlight of that article by Cam Inman, who does good work for the Mercury news, predicted 2018 would be a “banner year” for Buckner. Was it ever.

Unfortunately, for the other players mentioned, it was far from a “banner” year. This is far from an attack on Inman. I’m going to have predictions on players Week 1 that are proven to be incorrect by the 49ers bye week. This is continuing to paint the picture the difficulty it is to project in June.

The SF Examiner graded the offseason and draft class for the Niners. The first three picks for the 49ers all have a bright future ahead. Looking back, there was some pushback with the team electing to pass on defense early on in the draft.

Looking at the 49ers roster you could easily make the argument that edge rusher was the biggest need heading into April’s draft and instead of attacking that position early, Lynch waited to the fourth round to select the biggest question mark in the 49ers draft class: Kentavious Street.

This take proved to be spot on. The lack of pass rush—at critical times—cost the defense last year.

There’s nothing wrong with this news. It’s just a matter of contextualizing what you hear from the moment the clock hit zero Week 17 to the time the 49ers take the field against Tampa Bay Week 1. We’ll make the most of these next couple of months. We’ll have some fun.