No. 3: How should the 49ers build around George Kittle and DeForest Buckner?
As for George Kittle, a go-to threat is much needed. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is excellent at getting Kittle open. But that will be tougher next year. And so far, Kittle hasn’t exactly emerged as a big-name red-zone threat. It’s why a healthy, productive over-the-top playmaker is so vital.
On defense, it’s pretty easy. Supplement the outside pass rush. Without that, Buckner’s presence is diminished, as teams will simply double him in protection.
Another receiving threat to take heat off Kittle. Another pass-rusher to play alongside Buckner.
The best way to help George Kittle and DeForest Buckner is to surround them with dangerous wide receivers and defensive ends. The less opposing teams can focus on Kittle and Buckner, the more these two stars will be able to shine.
The team should try to find a true threat at receiver to take pressure off Kittle as the No. 1 receiving option and take double coverages off him. For Buckner, any defender that can get good pressure off the edge will help him greatly.
Drafting/signing a wide receiver capable of making plays and a red-zone threat will help take the pressure off Kittle, providing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with multiple passing options. Drafting an EDGE, who can work in conjunction with Buckner, will increase the 49ers’ ability to apply pressure to the quarterback and make sacks.
Building around Kittle is simple. The 49ers need to get a true deep receiver, kinda like what Dante Pettis can be, in order to free up the intermediate routes for Kittle to be the yards-after-catch monster. Buckner needs either a lockdown secondary (very hard) or a good edge rusher (not as hard), which both ways frees him up and gives him to get to the QB.
For Kittle, I think a more consistent running game is needed. The 49ers have no shortage of talent at the position, but injuries have made it very difficult to find a rhythm at all. Teams will focus on Kittle now that he’s no longer a secret in the league, so a good running game to make teams respect both him and the run is needed.
For Buckner, he needs a partner in crime on the defensive line. Quinnen Williams fits this perfectly, and so does Nick Bosa.
Will Josh Allen be more of an EDGE or a linebacker, if taken? Hard to say.