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49ers positional power rankings - Defensive line still leads

Going through each position on the roster to see who is the best

NFL: OCT 28 49ers at Cardinals Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 49ers will take on the Dallas Cowboys and boast an undefeated record alongside the Philadelphia Eagles. Close to a quarter of the games have been played, so let’s rank each positional group for the 49ers.

Defensive Line

The discourse surrounding the lack of sacks for the defensive line has grown too loud. The 49ers have five players (Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, Javon Kinlaw, Drake Jackson, Arik Armstead) with ten plus pressures through four games. Bosa and Hargrave have an over 90 pass-rush grade per PFF.

The sacks are coming, but the line continues to generate pressures and is as deep as ever during the Shanahan/Lynch era.


Brock Purdy has been stellar through four games. The offensive success of this team has been a product of Purdy’s fine play. Quarterback is the most important position on the field, but the defensive line gets the nod at number one based on depth. Purdy’s numbers on the year: 81/122, 72.3 completion percentage, five touchdowns, zero interceptions, and 115.1 QB rating.

Running Backs

It’s just Christian McCaffrey. Elijah Mitchell continues to struggle with injuries. Tyrion-Davis Price was active for the first time on Sunday. Jordan Mason rarely sees the field, but where would this team be without McCaffrey? The league leader in rushing is such a difference-maker with the ball in his hands, but his mere presence on the field is enough to open things up for other playmakers. Kyle Juszczyk is still the best fullback in the game.

Wide Receivers

Brandon Aiyuk is blossoming into a top-ten wide receiver. Deebo Samuel still is the one-of-one playmaker with the ball in his hands. Jauan Jennings is a reliable third-down target and mean blocker. Ronnie Bell has the fan base excited to see his development. Ray-Ray McCloud III is a reliable fill-in at points. This group is solid and set.


Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw are the best duo in football. After that, the depth becomes murky, which is the reason this group isn’t higher on this list. Dee Winters is the youngster of the group but can’t be relied on. Oren Burks has been solid. Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles is more of a special teams player.


The starting four/five secondary members are set. The issue with this group is the depth behind them. What if Ambry Thomas is pressed into duty following an injury? Tashaun Gipson, Talanoa Hufanga, Charvarius Ward, and Deommodore Lenoir have been great. The issue is what happens if there is an injury.

Offensive Line

Trent Williams is a Hall of Famer. Aaron Banks has been very good this season, and Jake Brendel is solid in his second season as the starting center. The question marks are on the right side of the line with Spencer Burford and Colton McKivitz. The biggest test will be on Sunday, going up against Dallas.

Tight Ends

George Kittle is phenomenal. His value to the team is more than catches, yards, and touchdowns. The problem is the lack of production, but his value as a blocker is as good as ever. Charlie Woerner is a blocker. After that, the group doesn’t offer too much.