5 bold predictions for 49ers defense in 2020

Fred Warner #54 and Jaquiski Tartt #29 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Fred Warner #54 and Jaquiski Tartt #29 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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San Francisco 49ers
Richard Sherman, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

No. 1: 49ers Get Into Top 10 for Interceptions

Football is so “hand in glove,” it’s impossible to rank one particular aspect of a defense without evaluating the others.

San Francisco’s turnover efforts experienced a massive turnaround in 2019, finishing the year with 27 defensive takeaways, which ranked sixth best in the league. Yet only 12 of those came by the way of interceptions, which was tied for 17th overall.

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Forced fumbles and recoveries are important, yes. And the Niners did a great job of that last year. But considering the formidable pass rush, one would like to see those interception totals increase in 2020. After all, an interception can be much more valuable off a hurried pass than a sack with the offense still maintaining possession.

The 49ers don’t exactly have a lot of ballhawk defensive backs on their roster outside of veteran cornerback Richard Sherman. He led the defense with three picks last season, while only one other player, nickel corner K’Waun Williams, had more than one interception.

Getting those totals up would greatly increase the 49ers’ turnover prowess, taking full advantage of the team’s potent pass rush and turning more of those broken-up passes into picks.

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The Niners don’t have to get into the top five here for this to be a bold prediction. Merely hitting the top 10 would be a great mark to reach.