San Francisco 49ers: Power ranking top 10 players entering 2020

George Kittle #85 and Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 and Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Arik Armstead, 49ers
Arik Armstead, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

5. player. 42. . . . DL Arik Armstead

49ers Defensive End Arik Armstead

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead had his best season as a pro in 2019.

Armstead finished with his second straight season of starting all 16 regular-season games and was also on the field for all three of the 49ers playoff games. This, along with the addition of edge rushers Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, and the presence of former 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, helped Armstead set career highs in sacks, tackles and quarterback hits.

The 49ers responded by re-signing Armstead to a long-term contract extension this offseason, ensuring that he’ll be a key member of the defensive line for the next several years.

And with Buckner now in Indianapolis with the Colts and the team drafting former South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw to fill his role, much will be expected of Armstead in terms of maintaining some of his production from 2019.

For some fans, this may mean they’ll be disappointed if Armstead finishes with fewer than double-digit sacks again, but the key will not necessarily be those final counting stats, but whether he can continue to post high amounts pressures, having racked up 73 in 2019.

The best news is Armstead will not be asked to carry the load on the defensive front all on his own, as the 49ers will still have five first-round draft picks along that line even after losing Buckner this offseason.

But Armstead does need to be one of its most important pieces, as he’ll be seeing a lot of the field for the next few years. And 2019 suggests he has the skill to do the job.