5 most important players for future of 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers can take a good deal of optimism from the arrival of new head coach Kyle Shanahan. One of the most highly-regarded offensive minds in the NFL is set to call the Bay Area home for the next six years and <a href="http://www.armacan.com/cameron-artispayne-jersey-c-1_30.html">http://www.armacan.com/cameron-artispayne-jersey-c-1_30.html</a> potentially beyond.
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His reputation and coaching ability should be welcomed with open arms by the fan base, but there isn’t a whole lot else to be excited about as the Niners enter the 2017 season on offense. Career journeyman Brian Hoyer is penciled into the starting quarterback gig and will throw to Bruce Ellington, Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin.
The running game will feature Carlos Hyde, pending his health. If healthy, his potential as a physical runner could make him a piece to build around. However, there’s no evidence that Hyde can stay healthy for a full 16-game slate.
Long story short, Coach Shanahan will have to earn every bit of his salary this year if the 49ers are going to compete on offense.
The good news for the 49ers? They invested a great deal into the defense the past few years — there’s some exciting talent across all three levels. When looking to 2017 and beyond, the 49ers’ cornerstone players currently reside on the defensive unit.
LB REUBEN FOSTER
Foster was one of the stars of this year’s NFL Draft; the 49ers were eager to stop his potential slide out of the first round. Foster’s pre-draft circuit was filled with more questions than answers, but there’s no doubt his on-field product is top-shelf caliber. For a team thin on top talents, landing a player with Foster’s ceiling in the 30s is a huge break.
The 49ers have become accustomed to great play in the middle over the better part of the last 15 years, with Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman patrolling that area of the field. Foster can be the heir apparent as Bowman enters the twilight <a href="http://www.cinemakolik.com/fozzy-whittaker-jersey-c-1_8.html">http://www.cinemakolik.com/fozzy-whittaker-jersey-c-1_8.html</a> of his career. Foster needs to prove that the questions around him during the pre-draft process were just white noise; if he does, he is poised to be the centerpiece of the 49ers’ defensive front for years to come.
DL SOLOMON THOMAS
The earlier of San Francisco’s two first-round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, Thomas is a player whose positional designation remains uncertain. Ourlads currently slots Thomas — a Stanford product — as a defensive tackle, which is interesting because it’s a position both Oregon defensive linemen on the team would better served for. The 49ers are afforded a great deal of depth and ability to rotate along the front, so stressing about a positional designation is likely a moot point.
Thomas, as a top-three selection this year, is entering the league with a lot of expectations. Top-five pass rushers are expected to be disruptive forces along the front. Of the three early selections on the defensive line the 49ers currently possess, Thomas is best suited to set the edge as an “LEO.” He has also shown the most boundary pass rush prowess in the college ranks. If the 49ers are to avoid a backlog of interior defensive linemen, Thomas will have to play to his billing as a top-five overall prospect.
DL DEFOREST BUCKNER
Buckner is a player I was <a href="http://www.hl-sapporo.com/charles-johnson-jersey-c-1_32.html">Charles Johnson Authentic Jersey</a> especially high on throughout the process prior to the 2016 NFL Draft. There’s positional flexibility here, just as there is with Solomon Thomas. These two combined will give inside and outside blockers fits; they’re heavy-handed players with length and burst that is impressive for their frames.
How does Buckner fit along the front? Much like Thomas, he figures to be a big factor both inside and out. His presence and continued development give the 49ers the chance to rely on an organic pass rush (from the front four). The fates of these (front seven) early draft picks are all intertwined. High performance from Bucker, Thomas and Arik Armstead will provide a lot of space for Reuben Foster to roam and flow. The more pressure and flexibility Thomas, Buckner and Armstead offer, the more they’ll all be able to complement each other and stay on the field.
DL ARIK ARMSTEAD
The previously mentioned Arik Armstead was a first-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. His transition will be the most interesting to watch for the 49ers as they change from a three-man front to a four-man front. He was the single most productive 3-4 defensive end in pass rush reps last year according to Pro Football Focus.
Now, Armstead will have to work from different angles if he wants to earn more continued success. As previously mentioned, the more San Francisco can haul out of its early investments over the past few years, the better situated the team will be. Having three early investments on the same unit gives the 49ers a chance to have a team identity, something they’ve been searching for since former coach Jim Harbaugh left.
QUARTERBACK OF THE FUTURE?
Is this really C.J. Beathard? I don’t think it is, but it certainly won’t be the aging Brian Hoyer. The 49ers were frequently linked to Washington QB Kirk Cousins in the early parts of the offseason. Will he come west after the 2017 season? Will Beathard get the chance to showcase what he can do in Shanahan’s offense this year? I would expect that even if he does, the 49ers will be linked to many quarterbacks next offseason. An <a href="http://www.00fenrir.com/purchase-nfl-san-francisco-49ers-cheap-glenn-dorsey-jerseys.html">Glenn Dorsey Youth Jersey</a> offensive guru needs a high-end signal-caller to translate his playbook to the field.
A San Francisco team that has finished in the top half of the league in points scored just three times in the past 13 years (the three Jim Harbaugh seasons) will need high-end and consistent quarterback play. It’s paramount the team finds someone to fill that role.