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ESPN analyst projects Jimmy Garoppolo to take a step back statistically in 2020

Predicting the 49ers future before the NFL Draft

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The 2019 San Francisco 49ers had one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL under Jimmy Garoppolo’s first full season as a starter. Once San Francisco acquired Emmanuel Sanders, the offense opened up and went to another level.

Moving forward, the 49ers will look to keep 2019’s consistency going while improving on their red zone success. The offense will look different with a rookie wide receiver, and the additions of Jalen Hurd and Trent Taylor. So how does the offense project in 2020?

ESPN’s Mike Clay has projected the 2020 49ers’ statistical output

Every year Mike clay projects how each team with doo in the NFL. It’s far from easy, and I don’t think Clay is trying to be 100% accurate. It’s a projection, so take it for what it is. Before we look at what Clay has to say for this season, let’s take a look back to last year:

Garoppolo finished the season with 3,978 yards passing and a 27/13 TD/INT ratio. Clay’s 2019 projections were too high in yardage, spot on the interceptions, and two touchdowns short. Pettis leading the wide receivers in yards doesn’t look so hot, but you can’t fault Clay for not predicting Raheem Mostert to lead the team in rushing.

Here are Clay’s projections for this year:

Garoppolo’s numbers are slightly worse across the board. If Jimmy throws fewer than 25 tuddy’s that may say more about Kyle Shanahan and the wideouts than it does Garoppolo. Unless Jimmy regresses as a player, it’s tough to imagine him taking more sacks and throwing fewer touchdowns. That said, I can understand Clay’s argument.

Moving onto the running backs, and that’s the ideal number of carries for Tevin Coleman. Let’s say Matt Breida isn’t on the team and divide his carries between Mostert and McKinnon. The only thing keeping Mostert from reaching 1,000 yards is an opportunity. George Kittle having seven touchdowns, would be nice. It’s so difficult to project the 49ers receivers. Mostly because the best receiver may not be on the roster yet. There is also health and the unknowns of who takes a step forward.

Clay believes the 49ers sack total will be worse in 2020

We asked earlier this week if the Niners defense could eclipse 60 sacks next season. For that to happen, Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead have to surpass double-digit sacks barring someone taking a big jump in sacks. Clay only has Bosa exceeding ten sacks. Last year he had Armstead with three projected sacks, which was fair considering his history. Dee Ford is projected with eight, but the issue is the fourth rusher doesn’t step up, and that is the 49ers biggest fear. If the next highest sack total is three after “the big three,” then expect the defense to take a bigger step back than we expect. Getting after the quarterback makes the secondary better, and allows the linebackers to make plays as well.