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ESPN ranks each 49ers position; says the RB group is among the worst in the NFL

The OL rankings in the NFC West may surprise you

Minnesota Vikings Training Camp Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Let’s take a break from overreacting to meaningless football. ESPN’s Mike Clay recently updated his NFL position group rankings. Let’s see where he lists the 49ers in relation to the rest of the NFC West.


  • ARI — 10
  • LAR — 5
  • SF — 20
  • SEA — 32

Clay believes the Seahawks, who just named Geno Smith the starter, have the shakiest QB room in the NFL. Let’s see Kyler Murray perform in the second half before we crown him as a top-10 QB. And while Matthew Stafford proved last year he’s worthy, are we sure his arm is OK?

As for Lance, I don’t know where you rank him since there is so much unknown. However, I wouldn’t argue with a higher or lower ranking. The talent on the 49ers roster suggests he’ll be closer to single digits than 20, though.


  • ARI — 23
  • LAR — 19
  • SF — 26
  • SEA —27

According to the rankings, this is the worst positional group in the division. The Niners running backs will be a product of the offensive line, as we saw Thursday night. I’m curious to see who will emerge as RB1 by the second half.

Will Elijah Mitchell stay healthy? Does the lightbulb come on for Ty Davis-Price? Is Trey Sermon anything more than a special teamer? We won’t get those answers during the first month of the season.


  • ARI — 20
  • LAR — 21
  • SF — 18
  • SEA — 28

Perspective is everything. Yes, San Francisco looked like they had five trash cans protecting Trey Lance at times during the preseason. Clay still believes they have the best line in the division.

Everyone has question marks along the offensive line. Andrew Whitworth is gone from the Rams. Seattle is relying on a rookie left tackle. Arizona has Rodney Hudson, and that’s it.

The 49ers must be patient with Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford as they learn the ropes. Kyle Shanahan must take as much pressure off them as possible until they’re up to speed.

Wide receiver

  • ARI — 4
  • LAR — 9
  • SF —16
  • SEA — 7

16? Perhaps I’m projecting too much with Brandon Aiyuk as he has yet to surpass 850 receiving yards in a season. I’m banking on Aiyuk getting over 1,000 yards this year, with Deebo Samuel right there as well.

Danny Gray is the ultimate wild card, as his speed will make a difference. A part of me feels like Jauan Jennings will get phased out of the offense with the addition of Ray Ray McCloud, but the coaching staff loves Jennings.

The Cardinals’ ranking makes zero sense. We’ll see if Allen Robinson is a difference-maker. Seattle’s duo is a proven commodity, so there is no argument there. Either way, Aiyuk, and Samuel alone should have the Niners in the top 10.

Tight end

  • ARI — 6
  • LAR — 14
  • SF — 3
  • SEA — 8

The NFC is stacked at tight end, huh? We know why San Francisco is ranked so highly. Arizona has Zach Ertz and just used a second-round pick on a tight end. Does the addition of Noah Fant propel the Seahawks this high? I have my doubts.

We’ll be back with the defensive side of the ball. Which rankings do you disagree with the most?