NFL owners approved the expansion of the playoffs to 14 teams starting next season. The new format will allow only the 1st seed a first round bye, which gives that team a huge advantage in a Super Bowl run. The 2nd seed will now face the 7th seed on Wild Card weekend. If that was in place this past season, Green Bay would have faced the Rams. The 49ers took the 1st seed all the way to the Super Bowl and getting a 1st seed will only get more important this season. They are the current favorites to be the NFC champions next season.
The NFL draft is expected to go on as scheduled at the end of April. The 49ers currently hold the 13th pick from the DeForest Buckner trade and the 31st pick. After the 1st round, they do not have a selection until the fifth round. A trade down from one of the 1st round picks to get a couple of picks in the 2nd-5th round would make a lot of sense. The 13th pick would likely be used to address the wide receiver, offensive linemen, or cornerback needs.
Replacing Emmanuel Sanders has to be a top priority. Emmanuel helped elevate the offense when he was traded to the team and his loss looms large. The team gets Trent Taylor back and will see Jalen Hurd in action for his 1st season as a pro, but aside from Deebo Samuel, the other receiver spot is still up for grabs. The team will also need to shore up the offensive line especially with Joe Staley’s retirement coming any year now. And aside from Richard Sherman, the other corner spot is still open to competition against Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley.
The #13 pick (Wagoner)
Updated salary cap number (Madson)
The new playoff format (Inman)
Draft needs/targets (Martin)
Super Bowl XXIII (NFL video)
K.J. Hamler’s fit (Cohn)
NFL believes season will start as scheduled (Battista)
Postseason expanded to 14 teams (Patra)
Mock draft (Jones-Drew)
Taking a look at the new playoff format (Seifert)