We asked the question on Twitter Monday morning, “who is the most under-appreciated player on the San Francisco 49er?” We received over 160 replies in the first 40 minutes. The answers were all over the place from Robbie Gould to Emmanuel Moseley. If you’re a member of the Niners, you were probably mentioned. Here are the five most popular options. K’Waun Williams just missed out, but he should be appreciated.
5) Kendrick Bourne
Bourne is arguably the most popular player on the roster; that’s not a “star.” Fans love him as Bourne is constantly showing you he’s working out. Teammates love his energy, as do the coaches. Bourne was one of the more efficient receivers in the NFL, as over 90% of his production resulted in either a first down or a touchdown. As long as he’s on the team, Bourne will be a fan-favorite.
4) Jaquiski Tartt
It’s good to see fans recognize Tartt. If you’re struggling to find the value of Tartt, I give you the 49ers defense in December of 2019. The team went from a dominant red-zone defense to falling outside of the top-20. It’s tough to quantify Tartt’s value to someone that isn’t familiar with the Niners. He does everything that’s asked and doesn’t make mistakes. For a championship-level team, Tartt an ideal safety.
3) Emmanuel Moseley
This was a pleasant surprise. Moseley earned the right to start with the way he played in 2019. Moseley has zero playing experience and was called upon in the middle of a Week 4 contest, and once E-Man came into the lineup, the team never missed a beat. Third might be a bit high for Moseley if we’re objective. Williams and D.J. Jones have an argument. Nothing about being a fan is objective, so Moseley gets the nod here.
2) Kyle Juszczyk
In Week 10, the 49ers scored 24 points against the Seahawks, but it was evident the offense wasn’t the same. San Francisco averaged 3.9 yards per play and had three turnovers. The Niners lost Emmanuel Sanders and Weston Richburg during the game, but Kyle Juszczyk never played a snap in this game, and it showed.
The following week the 49ers throw it all over the field against the Cardinals but ran the ball 19 times for 34 yards. Kyle Shanahan wants to run the ball. Everyone knows this. What those two weeks showed was that the running game goes as Juice goes. Juszczyk’s value goes far beyond the running game, though. Him being on the field keeps defenses in their base, which creates mismatches for San Francisco. As a receiver, Juice is underrated as well. Juszczyk is a great example of a player being the best at his position and still undervalued.
1) Jimmy Garoppolo
Who else was going to be No. 1 on this list? It was always going to be Jimmy G. When I’m talking to diehard, you-can’t-tell-me-anything-about-my-team fans about Garoppolo, I try and paint the picture that Jimmy is human and makes mistakes. Yes, he was in his first full season and coming off an injury. Yes, there were 10-15 “WTF throws” last season that you would critique anyone about. When I’m talking to outsiders, the tone changes, and I find myself defending Garoppolo and showing non-highlight throws that illustrate Jimmy G has what it takes to win it all.
To call Garoppolo polarizing is the understatement of the year. For fans, the 49ers made the Super Bowl, and in a bottom-line business, that’s all that matters. For analysts and “experts,” they’re looking at everything that went into the Niners, making it to where they were, oftentimes downgrading what Jimmy accomplished.