San Francisco 49ers: 3 players who exceed expectations in 2020
By Peter Panacy
Last year, a number of 49ers players played far above their expected levels en route to a Super Bowl appearance, and these three could do it in 2020.
One of the reasons the San Francisco 49ers were successful and made the Super Bowl last season was because of a number of players outplaying their expected levels of production.
Perhaps the best example of this was offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill, who seemingly came out of nowhere from the now-defunct Alliance of American Football and emerged as a quality backup for both tackle spots and right guard in a fill-in role, starting seven games in the process and earning a very solid 73.0 overall grade, according to Pro Football Focus.
Similarly, running back Raheem Mostert, a perennial journeyman and special teams ace, ended up leading the team with 772 rush yards and 10 all-purpose touchdowns last season, suddenly becoming a household name after spending years in anonymity. There’s a good chance no analyst, professional or amateur, predicted both players would play such a huge role in the Niners’ success in 2019 and through the postseason.
Teams need these kind of contributions from players up and down the roster who aren’t necessarily expected to be the big-name stars. It’s one thing to expect top contributions from players like tight end George Kittle or EDGE Nick Bosa. Those are needed, too. But for San Francisco to get back to the Super Bowl, it’ll have to enjoy some top-tier production from others who don’t necessarily have those high levels of expectation placed upon them.
Fortunately enough, there are a number of candidates who could end up outplaying their expectations this upcoming season.
Niner Noise explores three who could easily fall into this category in 2020.