The San Francisco 49ers largely have young and unproven talent heading into 2017. And while this question won’t likely be answered for years, do the Niners boast any Pro Football Hall of Fame players on their roster right now?
San Francisco 49ers teams of the 1980s and 1990s had little trouble sending candidates to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Yet the team has certainly fallen on harder times since the early 2000s and a brief stint of dominance earlier this decade. And as the 2017 season nears, one has to wonder which players might be donning a famed yellow jacket many, many years from now.
The short answer to whether or not the 2017 Niners have Hall of Fame talent is “maybe.” Some, like veteran left tackle Joe Staley, possibly have a distant shot.
For others, like second-year defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, it’s simply too early to tell.
But let’s take a brief look at whether or not San Francisco can claim some Hall of Fame talent from this year’s crop of players heading into this season.
Staley has been the anchor of the offensive line ever since assuming a starting job back in 2007.
The 32-year-old’s career got off to a slowish start back when the 49ers weren’t particularly good, at least offensively. This probably hurt his chances to a large extent, although those five consecutive Pro Bowl nods between 2011 and 2015 help.
Yet with San Francisco going through yet another complete rebuild, the possibility of Staley increasing his Hall of Fame stock at the tail end of his career don’t look great.
CBS Sports’ Brad Gagnon classified Staley’s chances as “slim,” which probably speaks more to reality.
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman may have a slightly better chance to make the Hall when his career comes to a close.
Unlike Staley, who has never been named a first-team All-Pro, Bowman can claim four of these accolades, including one after his devastating 2014 NFC Championship game knee injury:
Bowman suffered another season-ending injury in 2016, and he’ll have to bounce back from that and return to All-Pro form to increase his chances. Considering he’s 29 years old, Bowman could make a solid campaign worthwhile.
“He’s a…he’s gonna be a Hall of Famer,” former Niners defender Ricky Jean-Francois told NFL Network (h/t NBC Sports Bay Area).
More from Niner Noise
- Predicting 49ers NFL Draft picks by looking at final mocks
- DraftKings NFL Draft Promo – Win $150 Guaranteed on Any $5 Bet
- 2023 NFL Draft: EDGE Byron Young could be impact player for 49ers
- 5 low-key NFL Draft options for 49ers who are flying under the radar
- Updated 49ers salary cap space ahead of 2023 NFL Draft
As for the rest, well, the chances are null or it’s far too soon to judge.
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said Buckner has talent worthy of a Defensive Player of the Year nod. That’s an impressive endorsement entering year two of Buckner’s career.
Who knows, though.
For now, what matters to San Francisco is getting some Pro Bowl-worthy talent on the roster to help transform a talent-lacking team into one showing some respectability this season and beyond.
Right now, Staley and Bowman are the only ones even sniffing the possibility.