The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. The Niners have won five Super Bowls, and had many all-time greats on those championship teams.
When Bill Walsh was the head coach, the offense got a ton of credit. Quarterback Joe Montana is arguable the best ever at his position, while there is no debate about wide receiver Jerry Rice’s place in history.
The most successful 49ers teams over the past decade have been among the best defensive units in the league, with players like Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, and Nick Bosa leading the way.
The Athletic’s Steve Berman put together his all-time 49ers roster, and you’ll see some great names that make his defensive unit. Here is how it looks:
In: Fred Dean, Bryant Young, Leo Nomellini, Charles Haley, Justin Smith, Cedrick Hardman, Charlie Krueger, Michael Carter, DeForest Buckner
Out: Aldon Smith, Dana Stubblefield, Dwaine Board, Pierce Holt, Nick Bosa
In: Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Dave Wilcox, Keena Turner, Ken Norton Jr.
Out: Matt Hazeltine, Lee Woodall, Skip Vanderbundt, Frank Nunley, Willie Harper, Mike Walter, Ahmad Brooks, Julian Peterson
In: Jimmy Johnson, Deion Sanders, Kermit Alexander, Eric Wright, Don Griffin, Abe Woodson
Out: Bruce Taylor, Eric Davis
In: Ronnie Lott, Merton Hanks, Dwight Hicks, Tim McDonald
Out: Carlton Williamson, Tony Parrish, Dashon Goldson
One name I am surprised didn’t make the list is Richard Sherman. Despite being 32 years old, he is still one of the best cornerbacks in the game. He was PFF’s top coverage corner last season, and makes the job of the entire defense easier by routinely shutting down the left side of the field.
Other than Sherman, the only defensive player currently on the roster who will be on the Niners’ all-time defense is Bosa. The guys is an absolute wrecking machine, and it’s scary to think he is only going into his second season.
What do you think of Berman’s defense? Are there any former, or current 49er players that you think should be on the list?