It’s probably a bit of an understatement to say I was pleasantly surprised in 2019 with the San Francisco 49ers. Regardless of their trip the Super Bowl, I had no idea they could make their deep postseason run. There were quite a bit of players who stepped up, and there were also players who took a step back or no steps at all.
So who made me look bad? There’s a couple, but I can narrow it down to two players.
First is Arik Armstead. While I thought he was a tremendous run-stuffer, I had him written off as a consistent presence in the pass rush. There were several times I didn’t even mention him when I talked about the possibilities of the 49ers’ defensive line (as you had no problem pointing out). Why didn’t I mention him? Well, I just didn’t think he’d do much with what was becoming a loaded defensive line.
And why would I think that? Solomon Thomas. I sincerely felt that he would have a beast of a season has been a year removed from his tragedy in 2018. I thought he’d really make Armstead or someone else expendable and turn a corner I went on the tangent that Dee Ford, Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner, and Solomon Thomas would be a beast of a line. I’ve always said Thomas has in no way been “awful” or a “bust,” but he’s been disappointing. At this point, I don’t see the 49ers picking up Thomas’ fifth-year option, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they refused it then negotiated Thomas a more team-friendly deal as depth. Thomas could also decide to walk and try a different defensive scheme as maybe Robert Saleh’s just isn’t the right fit for him. Any way you look at it, I expected a lot more out of Thomas, and I didn’t get near what I had hoped for. It’s a shame because I’ve been rooting for him due to the issues of mental health, and I hoped it would bring better awareness to it.
Beyond those two, I was also wrong on Jimmie Ward. Boy, did he make me look bad. Look really bad. To start the season, I was about to be right on Tarvarius Moore taking Ward’s job and being the cheaper option. Then Ward went and balled himself out to where the 49ers have yet another difficult contract negotiation to navigate. For a one-year prove-it deal, Ward definitely proved he’s worth it when healthy.
Those are three such names. Which 49er proved you wrong? Let’s not let egos get in the way here as we all can screw up. Did someone really just blast off when you thought they would be on the bench, or did someone you preached would have a monster season wind up just doing nothing? Put it down in the comments.