Maybe when the San Francisco 49ers start winning they’ll make more top-lists. Today, we live in 2019, and the 49ers aren’t making much of anything. Whether it’s DeForest Buckner getting left off a top-defensive lineman list, the entire team (including George Kittle) getting left off of Pro Football Focus’ top-50 players entering the 2019 season list, or just one play getting recognized in the 100 best, the 49ers can’t catch a break as far as recognition.
But today, CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco can be everyone’s hero. He has his top-50 players list and two 49ers make the list. Obvious names, but the obvious isn’t really noticed in today’s NFL analytical world.
At 51, Prisco has defensive lineman DeForest Buckner:
His sack numbers went from three in 2017 to 12 last season, which shows you the growth he’s making as a player.
Yes, growth. Growth with an issue-plagued defensive line. Forget Nick Bosa or Dee Ford, it’s curious to see what Buckner can do with some consistency on the line. This will be something interesting to see during the season. All one can hope with Buckner is that he gets some respect, because in 2018 despite the issues above he had none.
And at 70, we have Mr. Record Breaker himself, George Kittle:
Even on a team with quarterback issues last season, he had 88 catches and averaged an eye-opening 15.6 yards per catch.
He also has the record for most receiving yards by a tight end. It’s nice to see Kittle make a list, but 70 seems just a bit high. If he can do anything to replicate that 2018 season, his positioning on these lists should exponentially improve.
The 49ers have plenty of players that could make these lists, but Buckner and Kittle seem like no-brainers. Perhaps if they can win more than a handful of games they’ll get some respect.
Speaking of this list, in particular, are there any other players besides Buckner and Kittle you’d add to a top-100?