5 players 49ers can’t afford to lose to injury in 2020

Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo #10 (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) /

The 49ers will be in trouble if they lose any of these players to injury in 2020

It’s a small miracle the 2019 San Francisco 49ers reached the Super Bowl after posting a surprising 13-3 regular-season record and securing the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC.

Why? Well, the Niners dealt with a rash of injuries over the course of the year.

Tight end George Kittle missed multiple games with ribs and ankle injuries. Both starting tackles, Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, missed extensive time with respective injuries. Center Weston Richburg and defensive tackle D.J. Jones both landed on season-ending injured reserve. Safeties Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt both missed time, too.

In total, San Francisco placed 19 players on injured reserve in 2019. And according to Football Outsiders‘ adjusted games lost metric, the 49ers had an AGL of 95.8, which ranked sixth highest in the league last year.

So, yes. It’s quite the accomplishment the Niners absorbed those injuries and did as well as they did over the course of 2019. It’s a testament to the depth installed by general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. The players, too.

There are plenty of cases, however, where an elongated injury could spell disaster for the 2020 squad, though.

Some would say quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo should be on that list. Perhaps, especially looking back on what happened with Jimmy G suffered a season-ending ACL tear in 2018 and the Niners subsequently went 4-12.

But a would-be Garoppolo absence wouldn’t be entirely detrimental, especially if backup quarterback Nick Mullens plays like he did down the stretch in 2018.

Instead, these five players suffering a major injury would create far more problems for Shanahan and Co., and the 49ers better hope they stay healthy this season.