The San Francisco 49ers have missed the playoffs the last two seasons. While their roster is young and they’re rebuilding, the 49ers do have some pieces in place. It’s up to the young up-and-comers to help the team make a playoff push. Which players could potentially do that? Niner Noise breaks down the most likely five.
On Sirius XM NFL Radio earlier this week, Mike Giddings proposed the San Francisco 49ers were a young exciting team that could “be in the mix.”
Giddings is a long-time NFL personnel guru and here is his quote from The End Zone, a show on Sirus’ channel 88:
"Believe it or not, a team in the NFC West (that) would be interesting to watch would be San Francisco. They had the two off years the last two years, but I think they could be another team that’s in the mix."
Now, I happened to be listening to the show when Giddings was on. At the same time I was rooting for him to say, “San Francisco,” the team truly came to my mind when the subject of young exciting teams came up.
Why, you ask?
The 49ers head into 2016 coming off the franchise’s worst season in their recent history. Everything that could go wrong last year, did go wrong. The team fired top-notch head coach Jim Harbaugh, replaced him and his staff with previous defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and his band of misfits and ultimately lost linebacker Aldon Smith, to the Bay Area rival Oakland Raiders, over yet another off-field incident.
And that’s not all.
Former All-Pros, and potential future Hall of Famers, Patrick Willis and Justin Smith retired. Following that, young up-and-coming superstar linebacker Chris Borland called it quits, over concussions, after just one season in the NFL.
It seemed as if every time the 49ers gained one thing, they would lose two more.
But this season feels different. General manager Trent Baalke went out and hired embattled head coach Chip Kelly, who some feel is impersonal with his players, and orchestrated yet another solid draft, led by first-round picks DeForest Buckner and Joshua Garnett.
And speaking of those two players, this article is about players. So which players could put San Francisco in the playoffs? Find out below as Niner Noise takes a look at the five most-likely players who could lead the 49ers charging into the postseason.
Next: No. 5, DeForest Buckner