We’ve made it to the top 20 players on the San Francisco 49ers roster. If you’ve missed any of our previous rankings, here they are the players ranked from 90-81, from 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 31-40, and 21-30.
20: C Weston Richburg; High: 13, Low: 25, KP: 13
My buddy Brandon Thorn ranked Richburg as the 10th best center in the NFL heading into the season and had him in the third Tier at the position. Richburg was eighth in the NFL in snaps per blown block among interior offensive lineman. He just doesn’t give up anything in the passing game. It’s not just 1-on-1, but you don’t see free rushers up the middle as Richburg is great at identifying blitzes.
The 49ers need their starting center, and hopefully, they’ll have him from Week 7 and beyond.
19: CB Emmanuel Moseley; High: 10, Low: 26, KP: 14
Moseley faced a bit of adversity during training camp as the coaches didn’t “gift” him first-team reps. Moseley had to earn his starting spot, and while the team has yet to announce it, Moseley earned the job with his play. One area where Moseley doesn’t get enough credit is his aggressiveness in the run game. He had 20 run stops in 589 snaps. Compare that to Jimmie Ward, who had 25 stops in 819 snaps, and Richard Sherman’s 30 stops in 911 snaps. All while Moseley only missed four tackles.
His consistency extended to the passing game as Moseley only allowed 6.3 adjusted yards per pass, which was good for 14th in the NFL. Moseley’s success rate in coverage was 62%, which was 9th in the NFL. Your reaction maybe, “he wasn’t targeted that much.” Moseley had two fewer targets than Sherman.
He can play.
18: LB Kwon Alexander; High: 13, Low: 27, KP: 22
Alexander takes a lot of heat for his missed tackles. He missed eight while Dre Greenlaw missed six tackles in nearly double the snaps. Kwon doesn’t get nearly enough credit for how well he plays in the passing game. He has great range, which allows him to get to passes more linebackers couldn’t. His athleticism and awareness take away routes that you can’t always see from the broadcast view. Alexander had four pass breakups in half a season’s worth of work, allowing only 4.3 adjusted yards per pass, and had a 67% success rate. Both of those would have been good for top-five in the NFL.
17: S Jaquiski Tartt; High: 9, Low: 26, KP: 16
Tartt’s best negotiation tactic is to show the team’s red zone numbers with him and then during December. The 49ers went from allowing 41% of red zone drives to end in a touchdown on December 1—which was the third-best in the NFL—to 62% by season’s end, which was 26th.
16: DT Javon Kinlaw; High: 10, Low: 26, KP: 10
My initial thought was the 49ers needed Kinlaw to be a top-10 player to remain a dominant defensive line. That’s not true or fair to Kinlaw. If Kinlaw is an average pass rusher and an above-average run defender, the 49ers will take that. Kinlaw must develop a plan as a pass rusher, and he will. He’s a rookie that hasn’t played a down yet, and I’ve seen fans freak out. Let’s give him a couple of games before we’re too critical of the rookie.
I still believe when it’s game time, Kinlaw will resemble the player the 49ers thought they drafted at No. 13.
15: RB Raheem Mostert; High: 11, Low: 25, KP: 18
What a difference a year makes. Mostert went from an afterthought to the 49ers top running back, and it didn’t take long for that to happen. Mostert was the best running back in the NFL per DVOA by seven full percentage points in 2019. Mostert finished with a 53% success rate, which was ninth in the NFL. A lot of credit goes to Shanahan’s offense, but Mostert averaged 2.9 yards after contact.
14: CB K’Waun Williams; High: 6, Low: 20, KP: 20
I thought Williams was the 49ers best run defender last season. He wasn’t only aggressive, but he created chaos. Williams had 30 run stops, and his average tackle against the run was 3.8 yards, which was the 12-best in the NFL.
I think the scheme helps Williams in the passing game, but he executes at a high level, and Williams’s awareness allows him to make plays.
13: S Jimmie Ward; High: 5, Low: 23, KP: 15
Ward missed the first few games of the 2019 season with a broken collarbone, but Ward immediately made an impact once he returned to the lineup. He played in the slot and had pass breakups against the likes of Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods—two talented wideouts. Throughout the season, Ward continued to make a difference. Ward ended up being in the top-20 in broken tackle rate among all defenders. Not only did he make plays, he also prevented the big ones from happening.
Ward was fourth among all defensive backs in success rate, and 11th in adjusted yards per pass. Add in eight passes defended, and it was easily his best season. He has to have an interception in 2020, right?
12: FB Kyle Juszczyk; High: 7, Low: 18, KP: 12
Juszczyk coming in at No. 12 on a Super Bowl contender whose roster is stacked tells you all you need to know about how valuable the fullback is in this offense and to the Niners.
11: RT Mike McGlinchey; High: 5, Low: 17, KP: 17
Is 2020 quietly a prove-it year for McGlinchey? The Niners starting right tackle allowed the most sacks last season (5.5) and had the most blown blocks against the pass (13). Health had a lot to do with those numbers, as McGlinchey had a strong second half of the season. He was dominant against the run and looked like a top-10 pick down the stretch. It’s all about being consistent with McGlinchey.