Where did 49ers land in ESPN's post-NFL Draft power rankings?

After a challenging offseason and unorthodox NFL Draft, where did the 49ers finish in ESPN's latest power rankings?
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The 49ers actually moved up in ESPN's latest power rankings after the NFL Draft, but how high did the Niners get?

The San Francisco 49ers remain a top Super Bowl contender heading into 2024 and mere months after falling just short in the big game to the Kansas City Chiefs last February.

That's common knowledge.

While the Niners' core is still intact, they were forced to part ways with one of their top players, defensive tackle Arik Armstead, who was released because of salary cap considerations. And after an NFL Draft that saw San Francisco grab a wide receiver at No. 31 overall, Ricky Pearsall, instead of an offensive lineman or a cornerback, it's fair to wonder if the 49ers took a step in the wrong direction.

On the contrary, though, a panel of ESPN analysts and insiders felt the Niners actually improved during the offseason and through the draft, thereby rising up the ranks in their post-draft NFL power rankings.

ESPN ranks 49ers at No. 2 in post-NFL Draft power rankings

ESPN's previous power rankings, listed after the opening waves of free agency at the start of the league new year in March, had San Francisco in the No. 3 spot, trailing both KC (No. 1) and the Detroit Lions (No. 2).

According to ESPN's most recent power rankings, however, the 49ers and Lions have flipped spots with the Niners moving up into second and Detroit dropping down to third.

Here's what ESPN's Nick Wagoner had to say about San Francisco's offseason efforts:

"In 2023, the 49ers traded for Randy Gregory and Chase Young in an effort to finally find a complement to Nick Bosa. It didn't work, and ends not named Bosa managed a combined 11 sacks and 49 pressures. San Francisco made addressing that a priority in free agency, signing veteran Leonard Floyd (who has had at least nine sacks in each of the past four seasons) and promising youngster Yetur Gross-Matos, whom the Niners envision playing multiple spots on the line."

Now, it's interesting that Wagoner didn't describe the 49ers' draft haul here, which is ironic because they opted to pass on drafting any defensive linemen through all seven rounds.

But, by shoring up other needs elsewhere on the roster, the thought is the Niners' biggest defensive strength should be boosted by more complementary football on both sides of the ball.

Perhaps that's the justification.

Either way, the reigning NFC champions appear to be the top team in the conference heading deeper into the 2024 offseason, trailing only the Super Bowl-champion Chiefs for the No. 1 spot.

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