The 49ers better hope these three relatively thin positions aren’t problems in 2020.
There are few rosters around the league better than the San Francisco 49ers entering 2020. And some may argue the Niners’ current crop of players is as balanced and potent as any in the NFL.
With nothing short of a Super Bowl victory as the ultimate goal, head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. will look to capitalize on last year’s 13-3 regular-season finish and ride what were some career-best seasons from a number of players along with more than a few upstart performances from others.
Yes, there are many reasons to be optimistic about San Francisco this season. But no roster is completely perfect, and there are always going to be liabilities and question marks a team will have to navigate.
The Niners relearned that lesson this offseason, trading away Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts to free up cap space, both now and in future seasons. Combined with the free-agent loss of defensive tackle Sheldon Day, the 49ers defensive line is notably thinner than it was a year ago when it was considered the best and deepest in the NFL.
Fortunately, the D-line remains deep enough, especially after the first-round NFL Draft addition of defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.
Yet the Niners weren’t able to solve all their depth needs during the offseason. And while injuries and attrition can be avoided, they’re an ever-present reality for every team. So are regression factors and poor play.
San Francisco is engineered to absorb some of this. But these three relatively thin positions could be problematic if the depth winds up being tested in 2020.