The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the busiest teams during the NFL offseason. General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan began the new league year by re-signing several of the team’s own free agents, including veterans Trent Williams, Kyle Juszczyk, K’Waun Williams and Jason Verrett. The Niners also signed center Alex Mack and pass-rusher Samson Emkuam in free agency.
Because of the early action, Lynch and Shanahan felt comfortable making a blockbuster deal and trading three first-round picks (2021, 2022, 2023) plus a third-rounder next year to the Miami Dolphins for the No. 3 overall pick.
San Francisco used the selection on North Dakota State QB Trey Lance. The 20-year-old is the QB of the future, but in for the present, incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the roster.
The 49ers are in a position to contend for a title next season. With Williams, Nick Bosa, George Kittle, Fred Warner and Deebo Samuel on the roster, the Niners have a solid nucleus that ranks amongst the best in the NFL.
Lynch and Shanahan made a total of eight picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, using five on offensive players and three on the defensive end. With OTAs just around the corner and training camp set for late July, the 2021 NFL season isn’t too far away.
Here are where some of the major media outlets have San Francisco ranked in their post-draft power rankings.
NFL.com has the 49ers ranked No. 9
We’re still not entirely sure who was the target of the smokescreen, but the Niners were ultimately successful in masking their intentions before selecting Trey Lance with the third overall pick. Lance is a bit of a mystery prospect due to his sparsity of college reps, but the upside — which factors in his physical and mental tools and the QB-friendly system he enters into — is enormous. What this means for Jimmy Garoppolo is unknown: He still makes sense as a trade candidate, but he also cuts the profile of a fine insurance policy for a Niners team that can rightfully say it has Super Bowl aspirations despite last season’s 6-10 clunker.
Sports Illustrated has the 49ers ranked No. 7
No team improved its stock in our rankings more than the 49ers. Whether that’s due to an expected bounce back with better injury luck, or a raised ceiling if Trey Lance takes over for Jimmy Garoppolo in the second half of the season, there are reasons to be confident.
USA TODAY has the 49ers ranked No. 7
Even if QB Trey Lance, the draft’s No. 3 overall pick, takes a redshirt season, this team will be formidable if its main players merely stay healthy in 2021.
Bleacher Report has the 49ers ranked No. 11
After trading up to acquire the third overall pick in the 2021 draft, the San Francisco 49ers were the focus of a ton of offseason speculation. Which young quarterback did the Niners mortgage their future to obtain?
As it turns out, it was North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, a wildly athletic but raw signal-caller who played only one game in 2020. Lance’s mobility and arm talent gives him one of the highest ceilings of any quarterback in the class. But given his lack of experience, it’s a pretty safe bet that Jimmy Garoppolo will remain the team’s starter, at least in the short term.
San Francisco’s 2020 season was an injury-marred disaster. But Gagnon believes that this team could be primed for an exceedingly rapid rebound.
“Please don’t forget that the 49ers were a Super Bowl team before losing Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman, K’Waun Williams and Jaquiski Tartt to injuries of varying severity for long stretches in 2020,” he wrote. “It was one of the worst injury situations I’ve seen in my 14 years covering the NFL. Add most of those guys back, factor in the possibility that Lance catches fire in a great system as a rookie, and the 49ers are a Super Bowl contender again.”
Gagnon put his ranking where his writing was as well. He slotted the Niners inside the top five.
CBS Sports has the 49ers ranked No. 6
Even if it’s Jimmy Garoppolo playing quarterback, the return of healthy players makes this a much better team than a year ago. Trey Lance might wait to play.
Here is how the rest of the NFC West teams are ranked:
Seattle Seahawks: NFL.com (No. 8), Sports Illustrated (No. 10), USA TODAY (No. 12), Bleacher Report (No. 9), CBS Sports (No. 12).
Los Angeles Rams: NFL.com (No. 7), Sports Illustrated (No. 4), USA TODAY (No. 6), Bleacher Report (No. 10), CBS Sports (No. 9).
Arizona Cardinals: NFL.com (No. 16), Sports Illustrated (No. 23), USA TODAY (No. 17), Bleacher Report (No. 12), CBS Sports (No. 8).
Most outlets have San Francisco in the top 10, but it is interesting to see where the remaining NFC West rank. The division will be one of the best in the NFL again next season, along with the AFC North.
Where do you have the 49ers ranked in the league’s pecking order? How do you rank the NFC West teams going into OTAs?