49ers 53-man roster: Power ranking each unit entering 2021

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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George Kittle, Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) and quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers head into 2021 as a fourth-place team that potentially has a top-five roster in the NFL. Niner Noise power ranks the position groups against each other.

The San Francisco 49ers had a disappointing year in 2020 for many reasons, injuries chief among them. But the silver lining of injuries is that they heal, and a roster that by the end of the year looked broken and watered-down can now emerge back to its expectation before the 2020 season started, as a Super Bowl contender.

While it’s impossible to predict a 2019-like season again, the Niners have set up their roster to have that same kind of run, adding to it considerably and bolstering many positions that had been prior weak points before.

It’s not a stretch to say this is the best roster head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have put together, and while the initial 53-man roster is almost never the final one, it’s notable given the quality players San Francisco ended up cutting.

Running back Wayne Gallman, tight end MyCole Pruitt and safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix are just some names of players who were unable to make the 49ers’ initial 53-man roster. And in their wake lies a roster with plenty of talent at nearly every position.

With the amount of depth and talent the 49ers have on the stack, it’s time how these position groups stack up against each other.

As a quick note, when ranking position groups, I do it positional-value independent but I do consider usage. What that means, functionally, is that a quarterback is usually the most important player on a team. But in order to make these rankings useful or even interesting, I’m evaluating each position independent of that.

It’s just based on the quality and depth of players.

The other aspect of usage comes into play when considering where backups are considered more prominently. I usually give the edge to high-end talent over consistent backups, but there will be a few differences here and there. But for example, I’d rank the tight end group higher because George Kittle is there, and backup tight ends don’t get a significant amount of playtime to justify making them a major consideration.

This is in opposition to the wide receiver room, where three-receiver sets are so common, the third receiver will have a major impact on the rankings.

With that said, let’s get underway and power rank each Niners unit entering 2021.