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PFF grades and snap counts: Witherspoon ends his season on a strong note

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

We went over a few takeaways from the 49ers loss to the Seahawks in Week 17. Now, it’s time to look at the snap counts and PFF grades. Let’s start with the offense.

Offense - 66 snaps

Colton McKivitz started, but he and Tom Compton were close to playing the same number of snaps. I laughed when Cracraft caught a first down, his first of the season, and got up and signaled the same way George Kittle does when he moves the chains.

What a fall from grace for Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman, who combined to play the same number of snaps that Charlie Woerner, a sixth-round rookie, played.

Top-five graded offensive players

C.J. Beathard - 81.3
Kendrick Bourne - 80.0
George Kittle - 78.7
Mike McGlinchey - 66.5
Richie James Jr. - 66.5

Fans were calling for Josh Rosen after a few series. Beathard is a third-string quarterback. Many of you were tougher on him than you were on the starter, and I’ll never understand why. C.J. hasn’t been active or starting for a reason.

Not being sure where or when to throw the ball led to Beathard being under pressure when he shouldn’t have, and two missed throws were costly, but Beathard played about as well as you could ask from a third-string QB. He had 14 first downs on 25 completions. Beathard made plays with his legs and stretched the field vertically.

McGlinchey has been the same player all season. A dominant run blocker who will have that ugly rep or two in pass protection a game.

James not being used as the slot receiver over Trent Taylor this season is a head-scratcher. I get it, though. If you were to watch the two practice, Taylor is reliable, and James isn’t. Then, in the games, offensively, at least, James provides a spark that Taylor can’t offer. The thought of using James as a vertical threat next year is intriguing.

Kittle was Kittle, though he did have two drops, and both were costly. Thirty of Kittle’s 68 yards came after the catch. Speaking of, Kendrick Bourne had a nice afternoon, though most of his production came in the fourth quarter. All five of his receptions resulted in first downs, and Bourne had 39 yards after the catch.

Five-worst graded players

Wilson Jr. - 54.3
Juszczyk - 53.4
Woerner - 50.6
Tomlinson - 49.6
McKivitz - 48.2

It feels like I say this every week about Juice, but there were three to four plays where he was single-handedly responsible for a run play not being successful because he missed a block. Tomlinson allowed three hurries, while McKivitz allowed one hurry and a QB hit.

Defense - 65 snaps

The takeaway from this should be that you can’t expect to play Alex Barrett 33 snaps, Darrion Daniels, Dion Jordan, and Josaiah Coatney over 10 snaps and expect production. As the 49ers never intended for any of these players to play this season, that's not their fault.

Five-highest graded defenders

Witherspoon - 77.1
Armstead - 74.6
Verrett - 66.7
Warner 66.6
Johnson - 65.9

Witherspoon was outstanding and has played well in recent weeks. The touchdown Spoon allowed is a touchdown for any cornerback. He didn’t stand a chance in that alignment. In the afternoon, Ahkello gave up two receptions on six targets for 11 yards and added a pass breakup. He played fast and confident all afternoon.

Armstead was active, as he has been for most of the season. He had a stop, a QB hit and was in the backfield on a few rushes. Armstead is as close to a dominant run defender as it gets. Something tells me he’ll be just fine next year when he can spend the majority of his time inside on passing downs once Nick Bosa is healthy.

Warner had a sack, a QB hit and got pressure on six of his eight pass rushes. Warner also had three-run stops.

Verrett was targeted eight times, allowed six receptions for only 41 yards, and had nine tackles on the day. Dontae Johnson was the highest-graded run defender on the team.

Five-lowest graded 49ers

Jordan - 57.9
Jones - 56.6
Coatney - 46.9
Hyder - 45.2
Daniels - 44.1

Hyder is the only player outside of D.J. Jones that should be playing starter snaps. Jones will never be recognized for the work he does by this grading scale, so we don’t need to spend time there.

Hyder has been a quality depth piece this season that has given the 49ers a much-needed boost on the edge, but he shouldn’t be your “top guy.” He has the numbers this season that could lead someone to overpay him, but I hope that’s not the 49ers. A lot of Hyder’s production came from either hustle sacks or the QB running into him. Brandon Thorn has a good breakdown of Hyder’s sack production and outlines how his sacks aren’t “high quality.”