San Francisco 49ers: 5 players who must step up in 2020
With the 49ers’ 2020 season (hopefully) ever-nearing, Niner Noise takes a look at several players who need to step up for the team to succeed.
The San Francisco 49ers head into the 2020 season ripe with something that isn’t always the case for NFL teams: continuity.
The team looks to return most of its starters on offense from the way it ended 2019, with only left tackle Joe Staley, right guard Mike Person and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders needing to be replaced. On defense, the turnover is even less, with defensive tackle DeForest Buckner being the only player who’ll start 2020 elsewhere after the Niners’ blockbuster trade with the Indianapolis Colts earlier this offseason.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that the team will only be receiving contributions from those 22 players who make up each unit’s starters (not to mention kicker Robbie Gould and punter Mitch Wishnowsky), but it does help to pinpoint players who will be asked to do a lot.
Recent injuries to wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Richie James don’t help, but at least for Samuel, the likelihood is that he’ll be on the roster and ready to go for 2020 at some point (James’ roster spot might be more precarious due to the injury).
But keeping all this in mind, it does highlight several players who will be asked to fill voids created by retired, cut or traded players or simply to show themselves worthy of a relatively high draft selection.
Here are five players who will need to step up in 2020 in order for the 49ers to live up to the expectations being set both externally and within the organization.