These 49ers need to have epic bounce-back 2023 campaigns

Javon Kinlaw #99 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Javon Kinlaw #99 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
1 of 4

The 49ers remain a stacked powerhouse entering 2023, yet these four players are going to be under a microscope and will be tasked with bouncing back strong.

It feels a bit silly to criticize a San Francisco 49ers roster that made it all the way to the NFC Championship game for two years in a row.

But, given the Niners have fallen short in both of those back-to-back seasons, perhaps a little criticism will help push the team over the top and into a Super Bowl victory.

And what better way than to criticize some players who underdelivered in one way or another over the course of 2022, right?

It sounds harsh, but that’s the reality of a “what have you done for me lately?” league.

San Francisco had plenty of exceptional contributions last season. Running back Christian McCaffrey‘s midseason arrival sparked the offense, while EDGE Nick Bosa took home Defensive Player of the Year honors after leading the NFL with 19.5 sacks.

There were plenty of other standouts, too.

That said, the 49ers will need others to bounce back from otherwise disappointing and frustrating 2022 campaigns, including these four who’ll need to get back on the ascent in a hurry.

No. 4: 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw

The Niners’ top pick from the 2020 NFL Draft has had a frustrating pro career, putting it lightly.

Certainly not his fault, defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw has dealt with chronic knee issues that plagued his four-game 2021 campaign and then cut into 2022 by limiting him to just six games. And when he did return, Kinlaw didn’t look anywhere near as imposing as he had previously.

Now, entering year four, all the signs are there that San Francisco won’t bother picking up his fifth-year option for 2024.

Sure, an extension could still be in play. But Kinlaw would have to demonstrate all the traits a first-round draftee would usually have and likely more.

Even if the 49ers pass on retaining him, Kinlaw’s future in the league could hang in the balance, and he’d need to put forth his best year ever this upcoming season to cash in when his Niners contract ends.