3 burning questions already surrounding 49ers roster in 2023

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The 49ers are a Super Bowl-contending team in 2023, yes. But there are some legitimate concerns and worries heading into the upcoming season.

Perusing the bulk of NFL power rankings out there, the San Francisco 49ers are usually in the top five, frequently falling between Nos. 3 and 5 with the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.

This places head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad squarely into legitimate Super Bowl contention. And, with the NFC significantly weaker than the AFC, perhaps the only legitimate obstacle the Niners have in getting there is getting through Philly.

All told, though, San Francisco isn't quite the perfect roster. No team truly is, and even squads like Philadelphia and Kansas City have their deficiencies despite being atop power rankings.

For the 49ers, though, there are already some notable roster questions Shanahan and Co. hope won't become too big of problems once the game snaps actually matter.

Particularly these three massive question marks that stand out the most.

Burning 49ers roster question No. 3: Right tackle

The Niners opted not to re-sign right tackle Mike McGlinchey during the offseason, which finally proved to be a smart decision in the wake of him inking a lucrative deal with the Denver Broncos in free agency.

Replacing McGlinchey comes down to a perennial backup, Colton McKivitz, or turning to a low-end free-agent pickup San Francisco made in Matt Pryor.

McKivitz is likely the favorite, and the 49ers have had success grooming backups into starting roles before.

However, with opposing teams frequently lining up their best pass-rushers on the strong side of the formation, McKivitz is going to be under plenty of pressure to meet even just a modest level of expectation.

Burning 49ers roster question No. 2: Cornerback

The Niners could have a solid cornerback crop in 2023, or it could be the team's primary defensive weakness.

ESPN's Mike Clay wasn't overly enthusiastic about San Francisco cornerback room entering the year despite additions of Isaiah Oliver and Darrell Luter Jr. via free ageny and the draft, respectively:

About the only known starter is Charvarius Ward in the No. 1 boundary role, while Oliver is assumed to be the starting nickel.

The 49ers still prioritize their pass rush first, but looking back at how big a weakness the cornerback room was in 2021 despite having a stout pass rush, one has to think the Niners are a bit concerned here, too, especially with the lack of depth.

Burning 49ers roster question No. 1: Quarterback

By now, the story of San Francisco's quarterback situation is old news and then some.

Will a recovering-from-injury Brock Purdy hang onto his presumed starting status of Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick from 2021 who seems to have fallen out of grace and could be traded this August if the market for him is better?

And what does that mean for Sam Darnold, the former third-overall pick from 2018 whom the 49ers have been eyeing for some time? Could he be a dark-horse contender to start, especially if Lance isn't the guy and Purdy is still recovering?

There are two ways to spin this.

From the negative perspective, the Niners still have so much uncertainty at the game's most important position.

From the positive, they also have three quarterbacks who are at least capable of starting.

Sounds like a burning question that still needs an answer, though.

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