49ers roster: 3 players who need to step up in a big way

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers have high hopes for getting back into the postseason in 2021, yet these three players need to step up in a big way for that to happen.

Is the San Francisco 49ers roster improved heading into 2021 than it was towards the end of last year?

Absolutely. An offseason removed from the Niners being one of the NFL’s most injured teams in recent memory almost prompts that fact by itself. As long as head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad remains moderately healthy this season, San Francisco should remain right in the thick of the playoff discussion.

But fans understand even the deepest and most talented rosters don’t ways just get into the playoffs by default. It takes star players making impact plays, role players providing quality work and even underachieving or disappointing players turning things around.

Case in point, in 2019, safeties Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt had career-defining kind of years despite entering that season with some understandable ridicule. Their play was essential to the 49ers making the Super Bowl later that February.

Heading into 2021, the Niners are again looking to maximize their roster as much as possible, which means there will be a number of players who need to step up as linchpin-type pieces however possible.

Some will be asked to direct the offense, while others need to plug significant gaps on the defensive side of the ball.

Either way, if San Francisco wants to get back in the playoff hunt again and establish a legitimate chance to win the Super Bowl, these three players will need to step up and contribute in a major way over the course of the upcoming season.