Nothing in the realm of content creation generates a reaction like a list. Whether it’s Marvel movies, music videos, or pizza toppings, everyone has an opinion on a list. In the case of the NFL Top 100, many 49ers fans might not be too happy with where the latest 49ers landed on the list.
Let’s start with Fred Warner at 47. By Fred’s own admission, he had a bit of a down year last year (75.2 PFF grade). After signing his big contract, he put extra pressure on himself to justify getting the bag, and that caused him to try and do too much.
His 8.3 yards per reception allowed was solid, and he was 10th in defensive stops among inside linebackers, but overall his numbers in coverage weren’t at previous levels. Warner allowed a 112 passer rating last year, which was the sixth highest among inside linebackers that played at least 500 coverage snaps. He also allowed an 82.1 completion percentage.
The good news is that even with Warner regressing slightly, the 2021 defense was still one of the best units in the entire league. Now that the pressure of that new contract is in the rearview mirror, we should see the return of All-Pro Fred. Oh, by the way, a healthier Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead dominating on the inside, and a new-and-improved Javon Kinlaw don’t hurt, either.
In all honestly, being voted the 47th best player in the entire NFL is nothing to cry about - especially when you aren’t at your best. Short of injury, there’s no reason that Fred Warner won’t be way higher on this list next year.
As for Bosa, I think most 49ers fans would tell you he should be closer to the top 10. Based solely on his play last year, you would never have known that Bosa was coming off major knee surgery. Nick was fourth in the NFL in total quarterback pressures (68), fourth in sacks (15.5) and eighth in quarterback pressure rate (14.7%). He also notched 21 tackles for loss (tied for the league lead), forced four fumbles and tallied one pass defended.
George Kittle makes his fourth straight appearance on the list, this time at #22. In 14 games last year, Kittle had 71 receptions for 910 yards - both the third highest totals of his career. He also set a new career high for touchdown catches at six, all while continuing to be the best blocking tight end in the league. He’s so good it’s almost boring at this point. Almost.
All told, the 49ers could end up with eight players in the Top 100. In addition to Warner at 47, Jimmie Ward at 96, Kyle Juszczyk at 100, Nick Bosa at 25, and George Kittle at 22, Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams will also definitely make the cut.
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