San Francisco 49ers: Expectations for the 5 Best Players in 2016 Season
By Peter Panacy
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman
2015 PFF Grades:
- Overall: minus-2.5
- Run Defense: plus-9.0
- Pass Rush: minus-0.5
- Pass Coverage: minus-10.6
It might be somewhat of a shocker to see linebacker NaVorro Bowman’s PFF grades come in at a negative last season, especially when considering his NFL-leading 116 tackles earned him a Pro Bowl nod and selection as a first-team All-Pro.
But keep in mind Bowman was a liability in coverage last season, which also shouldn’t be a surprise given 2015 was his first season back after his gruesome 2014 knee injury.
The full year of football activities under his belt should only be a bonus, and there are few reasons to expect anything but an even better season in front of him.
To start, Bowman was recognized as one of the league’s top-100 players entering 2016. That’s quite an accolade.
And there isn’t much of a question regarding his role as a leader, not only on the defensive side of the ball, but within the entire locker room.
Barring injury setbacks, one of the only reasons for concern will be whether or not Bowman can get some help from the remainder of San Francisco’s linebacker corps. The inside position is of the utmost curiosity. The Niners didn’t draft an inside linebacker in 2016, so the position alongside Bowman could be occupied by Michael Wilhoite, Gerald Hodges or even Ray-Ray Armstrong.
For the record, both Wilhoite and Hodges graded out negatively last season, per PFF.
Bowman can’t do it all, but he can certainly do a lot. And to suggest he’ll build upon an All-Pro campaign is a very scary thing for opposing teams.
Next: OLB Aaron Lynch