49ers fall to fourth in FanSided’s pre-2020 NFL Draft power rankings
By Peter Panacy
The San Francisco 49ers have taken a small hit in FanSided’s latest power rankings ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, going from second to fourth among the league’s best.
Those who view the San Francisco 49ers as the second-best team in the league behind the Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs won’t like this too much.
But FanSided’s Matt Verderame elected to drop the Niners down to No. 4 overall in his latest NFL power rankings just after the opening waves of free agency and in advance of the upcoming 2020 draft.
At No. 1, to little surprise, are those Chiefs who did an excellent job to retain the vast majority of their championship roster despite some serious salary cap restraints and obstacles. Behind them are the Baltimore Ravens at No. 3, and some would argue Baltimore could have beat K.C. had the Ravens advanced past the Tennessee Titans in the AFC divisional round.
The New Orleans Saints topped the Niners for best in the NFC in these rankings.
"San Francisco lost Emmanuel Sanders and DeForest Buckner, but the roster remains very strong. It’s important they replenish with a good draft."
Good points, yes. There’s little doubting San Francisco will miss both Buckner and Sanders, the latter certainly boosting New Orleans’ pre-draft rankings value.
Yet one shouldn’t be surprised with the Niners’ offseason moves. Buckner, who is now commanding an annual average salary of $21 million with his new team, the Indianapolis Colts, wouldn’t have received that kind of money with the 49ers without some major roster shakeups.
While no soon-to-be rookie prospect is anywhere close to Sanders right now, the 2020 NFL Draft class at wide receiver is perhaps the deepest it has been in a decade.
What those major moves tell us is San Francisco is looking for sustained success, not going the “all in” route teams like the Los Angeles Rams made in 2018, which has come back to haunt them. And if that causes a slight dip in NFL power rankings, so be it.
Verderame’s point about the Niners needing a good NFL Draft has its merits. With two first-round selections, general manager John Lynch should be able to find Sanders’ replacement in the stacked class.
Replacing Buckner, however, could prove to be a bit more difficult. The draft isn’t anywhere near as deep along the defensive line, and San Francisco also has some notable needs at cornerback and the offensive line, too.
Either way, “winning” the offseason doesn’t do much of anything, as most amateur NFL historians know. And the 49ers being within the top five isn’t exactly a bad place to be after losing two critical components to the roster.