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NFL power rankings roundup: Where ESPN, PFF and The Athletic have 49ers going into OTAs

All three outlets have San Francisco ranked in the top 10.

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Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers are holding voluntary workouts at their team facility in Santa Clara. Matt Maiocco of NBC Bay Area reported that more than 80 players are on-hand for the optional workouts.

The Niners roster appears almost to be set heading into OTAs, which are scheduled to begin next week. San Francisco still has roughly $17.6 million in cap space (Per Over the Cap) and could still add a veteran free agent.

General manager John Lynch and co. were extremely active this offseason. The 49ers re-signed many of their own free agents and traded up to get the No. 3 pick from the Miami Dolphins to selected quarterback Trey Lance.

San Francisco’s roster is deep and talented. The team has several Pro Bowl-level players and should be one of the 14 teams who get into the playoffs.

ESPN, Pro Football Focus and The Athletic released their latest power rankings have the Niners among the top-third of NFL teams.

ESPN has the 49ers ranked No. 9

Post-free-agency ranking: 13

Players who benefited most from draft: The receiver group

Picking one player who benefited most is difficult, but the players who were probably happiest to see the Niners not make a significant draft addition were the wide receivers. Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are the unquestioned top two, but with Kendrick Bourne gone to New England, many thought the Niners would at least add someone to compete for the open slot receiver job. Instead, the 49ers eschewed the position for the first time in the past 19 drafts, leaving the likes of Richie James, Jalen Hurd and Mohamed Sanu Sr. to battle for Bourne’s vacated snaps. — Nick Wagoner


PFF has the 49ers ranked No. 9

Super Bowl Win Probability: 1.1%

Highest-Graded Player: LT Trent Williams (91.9)


The Athletic has the 49ers ranked No. 7

There are a number of statistical indicators to suggest the 49ers could be due for a bounce-back season in 2021. According to TruMedia’s Expected Points Added (EPA) model, only two teams were hurt more by turnovers than the 49ers last season. It’s true that bad teams often get crushed by turnovers. But there’s also luck and randomness involved. A little regression to the mean with turnovers would help San Francisco in a big way.

The 49ers also had the worst injury luck of any team last season. And they faced the third-toughest schedule. This year, if we go by projected win totals from the betting markets, the 49ers have the NFL’s easiest schedule. Bottom line: They were one of the NFL’s most unlucky teams last year and are one of the most likely teams to rebound in 2021. - Sheil Kapida


Here is how the rest of the NFC West teams are ranked:

Los Angeles Rams: ESPN (No. 4), PFF (No. 6), The Athletic (No. 6).

Seattle Seahawks: ESPN (No. 8), PFF (No. 10), The Athletic (No. 8).

Arizona Cardinals: ESPN (No. 11), PFF (No. 16), The Athletic (No. 22).


All three outlets have the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranked as their top two teams in the league.

It’s also interesting to see all three have San Francisco, L.A. and Seattle in the top 10. No other division has three squads ranked as highly. The Rams are getting plenty of love from pundits after acquiring veteran QB Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions. Even with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, their defense should take a step back after losing several players this offseason.

The Seahawks failed to significantly upgrade their defense through free agency and the draft. Quarterback Russell Wilson seems frustrated with the lack of urgency to improve the offensive line, but Seattle will return four starters from the unit.

The Cardinals added some veteran star-power with J.J. Watt and A.J. Green making their way to the desert. Defensive lineman Chandler Jones will be back from injury, giving Arizona a formidable front-seven.

Where do you have the 49ers in your power rankings? How do you feel about where the three outlets have the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks?