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Golden Nuggets: Can the Niners count on Dee Ford this season?

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Monday, June 21, 2021

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

I hope everyone enjoyed their Father’s Day. If you enjoy laughs, former SB Nation college football writer Ryan Nanni had a pretty hilarious Father’s Day thread.

49ers 2020 ‘Who is?’ series: Will Dee Ford play at all this season?

Why Dee Ford remains a 49ers trade bust through 2021

Without diving too deep into the medical aspects of things, back injuries are nothing to scoff at.

A myriad of injuries Ford suffered in 2019 was bad enough, but the fact his back kept him out of 2020 and put his 2021 campaign into serious doubt should say more than enough about the reality of him returning to the field anytime soon.

And while Shanahan’s comments are hopeful, they’re anything but guaranteeing Ford will be ready to go at any point during the regular season, let alone the start of training camp or Week 1.

Ford will have to return and post eight-plus sacks this season to even come close to justifying the 2019 trade and subsequent extension, and it certainly doesn’t appear that’ll be the case. It’s also more than fair to say Kansas City squarely won that trade in a big fashion, both by avoiding Ford’s subsequent injury problems and not having to pony up the cash to retain him when he was entering a contract year.

Are the 2021 49ers Better than the 2019 49ers?

Quarterback: Jimmy Garoppolo is widely regarded as the starter in 2021. That said, Trey Lance in my opinion will start Week 1. Either way, the group as a whole is much more talented in 2021. Beathard nor Mullens are good enough to be in this year’s quarterback room.

Running Back: Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell are unknowns much like Jeff Wilson Jr. and Raheem Mostert were in 2019. Wayne Gallman isn’t as well regarded as Tevin Coleman was in 2019. This year’s starter is Raheem Mostert who, much like Matt Breida in 2019, is a speedy back with a high per carry average. 2019 Breida and 2021 Mostert are coming off nearly identical attempts and yards the prior two seasons combined. If Jeff Wilson Jr. was healthy I would give this team a nod here but him being out makes this a push.

2 49ers rookies offer intriguing fantasy football upside

The fantasy question with Lance is whether he can produce for a team this year. Jimmy Garoppolo is slated to be San Francisco’s starter going into camp, and there’s a real chance Lance doesn’t see the field in 2021. That could deter some fantasy managers from picking him – especially in redraft leagues.

Sermon’s value is weighed down some by the way Shanahan manages San Francisco’s backfield. The former Oklahoma and Ohio State star was a third-round pick of the 49ers and figures to take a sizable role in the 49ers’ offense, especially with Jeff Wilson Jr. out. Sermon going into the year is slated to be the No. 2 back behind Raheem Mostert.

However, San Francisco also drafted RB Elijah Mitchell in the sixth round and signed RB Wayne Gallman in free agency. While Sermon does project as the team’s No. 2 back, the RB touches could be divided by as many as four backs. While Sermon is a good pass-catcher whose running style should fit nicely with the 49ers, there are volume questions that will tamp down his draft stock in dynasty and redraft leagues.

Dr. Nirav Pandya Diagnoses the Root of the 49ers’ Injury Problem

Dr. Pandya: “I think it’s a combination of both. The No. 1 thing is what is there priory injury history? Did they have an ACL injury when they were younger? Did they have some sort of a meniscus injury? Once you’ve eliminated that, then you really have to look critically at what’s going on in the offseason. Are they training? Are they not training? What kind of exercises are they doing? Particularly for those non-contact injuries, because football by nature is violent — if there are contact injuries, there’s not much you can do about it. But those non-contact injuries, I think it’s critical to look at how they’re training and what they’re doing that’s leading them to getting those injuries, particularly when you hear about someone standing up and getting a meniscus tear, or just having a muscle injury. So it’s definitely a combination of things, but you certainly have to look at how they’re training in the offseason.”