No. 5: 49ers’ 2017 Youth Movement Pays Off in 2018
Remember when the Niners completely overhauled their 2-14 2016 roster entering last season? And can you recall how many first-year players ended up receiving significant roles over the course of 2017?
Hopefully you did. And if you forgot, the 49ers led the league for teams with the most rookie snaps last year:
Players often make their biggest leap between years one and two. If this is the case, a lot of 49ers are going to see a pretty big boost in 2018.
Based off some of the notable rookie contributors from last year, that should make this season awfully exciting. Case in point, 2017 rookie George Kittle set records in both receptions (43) and receiving yards (515) for any tight end drafted in Round 5, or later, in the modern football era. Slot wideout Trent Taylor was tied at No. 9 for most third-down receptions for a first down last season. Both he and the Rams’ Cooper Kupp had 18 such receptions — both the most for any rookie receiver last year.
If this kind of production takes a big leap this upcoming season, the 49ers could put themselves in prime position to walk away with the NFC West crown.