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PFF projects the 49ers to have three elite players in 2020

Five starters are projected as “high quality”

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Pro Football Focus released its draft guide, which you can download here. In their guide, they released a “State of The Franchise” for every team and projected how each current starter would perform in 2020. How it was explained to me, if a player had an elite season, but was more of a “one-year wonder,” then the likelihood of that player being elite again was slim. First, PFF’s blurb:

There’s a reason the 49ers were darn close to hoisting the Lombardi in February, and it’s that color-coded starting lineup to your right. Not a lot of pain points to address. The two most pressing look like receiver and right guard. The former makes a ton of sense at pick 13 while the latter still feels too rich for pick 31. With currently no picks on day 2, I’d imagine pick 31 will be up for sale for teams looking to hop back into the first round to give the 49ers some ammo to attack their offensive line on day

I’ve seen valid arguments for adding two top players as the 49ers have a Super Bowl roster already. Which positions are the most valuable can be debated for hours.

There were only 49 players that were considered “elite” in the NFL, and the 49ers had three of them. Since this is a projection, it shouldn’t be difficult to guess.

Let’s start with the offense. There is a better chance of Richie James starting for the 49ers in 2020 than Marquise Goodwin, but I understand why he’s listed. PFF doesn’t list any offensive starters as “poor,” but lists Richburg and Garland as below average. I will die on the hill that Richburg is a high-quality starter when he is on the field and healthy. Daniel Brunskill has the leg up as the starter at right guard, and I’d imagine PFF would have him below average as well. Looking at the rest of the line, it’s hard to imagine Staley being anything less than high quality with how he finished the season. Objectively, have we seen enough from McGlinchey to project him as a good starter? He’s been inconsistent.

The projections are tough for Mostert, considering he came out of nowhere and burst onto the scene. You can argue Mostert was one of the most efficient backs in the NFL down the stretch, and you wouldn’t be met with much resistance. It’s all about the opportunity with Raheem. It’s nice to see Deebo listed as a high-quality starter. Samuel has a bright future in this league.

Defensively, the only below-average starter is Kwon Alexander. Let’s just say I disagree and leave it at that. PFF isn’t a fan of Warner as he was the 44th rated LB in their grades. As you can see, Warner is a high quality player. You know it. I know it. PFF knows it. K’Waun Williams was one of the better slot cornerbacks in the league last season, so I wonder if PFF thinks Williams will take a step back. If healthy, the 49ers starting safeties are of high quality. That was on full display in 2019. Moseley was better than average last year when you use context, but it makes sense to not label E-Man as anything else for now.

Sherman and Bosa were elite in 2019, and there’s no reason to believe that will change in 2020. Ford would have been a high quality starter had he appeared in more than 22% of the snaps last season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ford and Armstead swapped places this time next year.

Which projections do you disagree with the most?