The 49ers season ended in disappointment, but making it to the NFC Championship with their third string quarterback turned out to be the most impressive feat in the NFL. San Francisco has put together one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the NFL.
Pro Football Focus put together a top 101 players from the 2022 season, and the Niners were well represented.
One of the game’s very best defenders this season, Bosa tied for the league lead with 90 pressures in the regular season before adding eight more in the playoffs. Bosa was a problem for any offense that had to block him, and he was the best run defender among the top edge rushers this season.
Myles Garrett, Micah Parsons, and Chris Jones were all ranked ahead of Bosa, despite Bosa earning 46 out of 50 first place votes for Defensive Player of the Year.
Williams has been arguably the league’s best offensive lineman over the last several seasons and did little this year to change that story. He led all offensive tackles in overall PFF grade (91.7) for the third year in a row, allowing 19 total pressures in 17 games.
It was another ho-hum All-Pro season for Williams. He’ll be 35 by the time training camp starts, and is still one of the most athletic offensive linemen in the NFL.
McCaffrey became the final version of his potential this season in San Francisco after the team traded for him midseason. He was an elite ball carrier and receiver, but his ability to line up all over the formation and interchange alignments with Deebo Samuel became a nightmare for opposing defenses to contend with.
It didn’t take long for the 49ers to begin to play through McCaffrey. The more he touched the ball, the better the offense became. CMC was the best offensive player on a team full of stars at the skill player position. Trey Lance’s life will be easier than it’s ever been thanks to McCaffrey.
Warner continues to show he has special ability as an NFL linebacker. He makes more improbable plays — such as running step for step with CeeDee Lamb down the seam from mugging the A-gap pre-snap — than any other linebacker in football.
Warner has proven to be one of the most valuable defenders in the NFL due to his coverage prowess. He’s effectively eliminated the middle of the field for opposing offenses.
When the 49ers need to lean on Kittle, he shows that he is still a dominant game-breaker. He generated almost 1,000 yards receiving, including the playoffs, but they tended to come in feast or famine bursts due to the volume of playmakers San Francisco can deploy. Passes thrown his way this season generated a 140.5 passer rating.
Kittle doesn’t land in the top-50 unless Brock Purdy ends up as the starter. No. 85 found the end zone six times in the final seven games. A 250+ pound tight end that runs a 4.5 40-yard dash is a heck of a security blanket for a rookie.
Ward justified the contract the 49ers gave him in the offseason and had an excellent year. He finished with 11 pass breakups in addition to his lone interception and posted the best PFF run-defense grade of any outside cornerback (91.0).
The price of the 49ers 2022 free agency class comes in at No. 61.
Fred Warner is the superstar at linebacker for the 49ers, but Greenlaw has emerged as an excellent player in his own right alongside him. Greenlaw earned above-average PFF grades in every facet of play over the year and made 71 defensive stops including the playoffs, just one behind Warner.
A poor playoff performance shouldn’t override an otherwise excellent season from Greenlaw. He grew as a player, and his physicality was a tone-setter. DeMeco Ryans went out of his way to say the 49ers defense wouldn’t have been the unit they were if not for Greenlaw.
So, no Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel. The wide receivers who made the top 101 were: Tyreek Hill
Amon-Ra St. Brown
Should Aiyuk or Samuel have made it over any of those 12 receivers?