We have reached the cream of the crop. Here are the best players on the San Francisco 49ers roster. The players the team will rely on, and likely the key to the 49ers success this season.
10. Arik Armstead, DL (High: 8, Low: 30, KP: 30)
I’m the lone wolf here, as the majority of the staff had Armstead in the top 12. I think Armstead can be a perfect role player, but putting him at ten would suggest he’s more than that. This season could very well be his last for Armstead. This will be the best situation Armstead has ever played in. Seeing how he produces will be telling.
9. Mike McGlinchey, RT (High: 5, Low: 10, KP: 10)
McGlinchey had a fantastic preseason. He looked much improved as a pass blocker. If McGlinchey keeps progressing, he has a chance to be one of the better offensive tackles in the league. Keeping Jimmy Garoppolo upright will lead to a successful season on offense, and McGlinchey will play a significant role.
8. Fred Warner, LB (High: 5, Low: 14, KP: 12)
We’ve talked about how Kwon Alexander has brought out a different side of Warner. The second-year linebacker is trending in the direction of a playmaker. I would have been higher on him, but I’m with Oscar on linebackers. Warner’s transformation into a leader this season should be fun to watch.
7. Richard Sherman, CB (High: 5, Low: 17, KP: 8)
Sherman “feels like he can run again.” If Sherman is indeed fully recovered from his Achilles’ injury, he should tally a few interceptions this season. He couldn’t make any plays last season because he couldn’t move. You could see that Sherman was favoring an injury. I can’t wait to how he looks against Mike Evans this time around.
6. Nick Bosa, Edge (High: 4, Low: 11, KP: 6)
The only worry I have is the 49ers putting Bosa on the field when he’s not 100%. Bosa has been limited in practice this week. We don’t know if he’ll play, but if we’re talking big picture, the first two games of his rookie season aren’t worth risking a nagging injury. Bosa is already one of the most talented players on the roster. Whenever he does step on the field, Bosa will show pretty quickly why he is ranked so high.
5. Joe Staley, LT (High: 2, Low: 8, KP: 3)
There isn’t much to say about Staley, who is the heart and soul of the 49ers. Even at age 35, Staley remains one of the top tackles in the NFL. I was going to ask how would you feel if this season or next McGlinchey “passed” Staley in performance, but I think Staley would want that.
4. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB (High: 1, Low: 6, KP: 2)
Captain James. We can talk about the defensive line, the weapons on offense, the play-caller. It all will circle back to how Garoppolo plays this season. If he performs like he’s capable of playing, the 49ers should get off to a hot start and put themselves in a position to make the playoffs. If he struggles, it’ll be fascinating to see if the perception changes.
3. Dee Ford, Edge (High: 3, Low: 9, KP: 9)
Ford is an ideal fit for what the 49ers want to do on defense. If the Wide-9 is going to be a staple on passing downs, Ford is the perfect player. Give your speedy edge rusher space to operate while he gets a running start. Ford was phenomenal last season. It’ll be tough to top his performance. If Ford can contribute 80% of that, the 49ers will be happy.
2. George Kittle, TE, (High: 1, Low: 6, KP: 4)
Kittle is the type of person the NFL should embrace. He makes plays and breaks records on the field. Off the field, he’s a fun-loving jokester that lights up the room. Like Ford, it’ll be tough for Kittle to improve on his 2018 statistically. He can become a better player, and it may not show up in the box score. I want to see him produce in the red zone.
1. DeForest Buckner, DT (High: 1, Low: 4, KP: 1)
2019 should give us the best version of Buckner to date. For the first time in his career, he has legitimate threats rushing from the outside. Like Ford and Kittle Buckner will have to put up superstar numbers to top what he did in 2018. What I’m looking for is Buckner to come through during crucial moments in games. Late in a game, on third downs, or when the offense is backed up in their territory. That will be the mark of a true “great player.”