ESPN has been putting out future power rankings every year since 2014 using the same process:
To project which NFL franchises are in the best shape for the next three seasons, we asked our panel of experts to rate each team’s roster non-QB, quarterback, draft, front office and coaching using this scale:
100: A+ (Elite)
90: A (Great)
80: B (Very good)
70: C (Average)
60: D (Very bad)
50 and below: F (Disastrous)
After averaging the results from the panelists, each of the five categories was weighted to create the overall score -- roster (30 percent), quarterback (20 percent), draft (15 percent), front office (15 percent) and coaching (20 percent). The result is a comprehensive ranking based on how well each team is positioned for the future.
Why they’re here: There’s been plenty of positive buzz surrounding the 49ers over the past couple of seasons, but an early ACL tear for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sabotaged the 2018 season. Garoppolo is healthy now, has a steady offensive line, a talented stable of backs and an ascending group of pass-catchers led by tight end George Kittle. While the defense still has gaps to fill, it’s time for the 49ers to start making good on the promise we’ve seen in spurts. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has a dynamic offensive mind and points should be plentiful this season. GM John Lynch’s track record in the draft is short, but the early returns haven’t been what he was hoping for. San Francisco must improve in that area. -- Yates
Field Yates has a good point. “It’s time for the 49ers to start making good on the promise we’ve seen in spurts.” There has been an upgrade in talent everywhere except the offensive line. With the same five guys starting, and Weston Richburg returning from injury, and Mike McGlinchey having another year under his belt, the line figures to be much improved.
Biggest worry: Yes, Garoppolo is coming off a major injury, and yes, the 49ers need to develop a legit perimeter threat at wide receiver if Garoppolo is going to be the greatest trade the 49ers have ever made -- as I said he would be before he got hurt. But what worries me the most about this team is the defense. Yes, I know they added a lot of firepower on the defensive line with the trade for DE Dee Ford and the drafting of Nick Bosa in the first round. But this team is terrible in the secondary (the 49ers intercepted just two passes last season, the fewest by any team in the Super Bowl era, and also allowed 35 passing TDs), and unless they can create havoc upfront on a regular basis, I don’t see how the 49ers are going to improve in the back end. -- Riddick
Terrible might be a stretch. Ignoring addressing the secondary until Day 3 of the NFL Draft, and signing a guy that hasn’t played a full season since Jim Tomsula was the head coach as the answer at cornerback is troublesome. I think the Niners could have done a better job at adding competition at a couple of spots in the secondary this offseason. Not doing so puts pressure on the younger guys to step up. Time will tell if they are ready to do so.
What could change for the better: Other than acquiring a franchise quarterback for less than a first-round draft pick, a deal for Garoppolo that in essence fell into their laps, the 49ers haven’t made much roster progress in the first two years under Lynch. But his decisions could look better if a defensive line that includes three No. 1 draft choices, plus veteran acquisition Ford, can dominate opponents and wreck games. -- Seifert
I think just from last year to this year the roster has significantly improved. Deforest Buckner will no longer have to worry about being double-teamed every play. Your number two receiver is no longer Trent Taylor or Kendrick Bourne; it’s Deebo Samuel. Tevin Coleman is an upgrade from Jeff Wilson, and Kwon Alexander will inject athleticism at linebacker the team hasn’t seen in years. 25th is tough. It’s saying that the young guys will not amount into much. Are they right?