PFF doesn't consider 49ers D-line the NFL's best (but it's still very good)

Not quite sure if the Ricky Bobby line of 'if you're not first, you're last' argument applies here.

Probably not.

San Francisco 49ers defensive linemen Javon Hargrave (98) and Nick Bosa (97)
San Francisco 49ers defensive linemen Javon Hargrave (98) and Nick Bosa (97) / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The 49ers don't enter 2024 with the NFL's best defensive line, per Pro Football Focus. But it's still viewed as an elite unit.

The San Francisco 49ers don't boast the best defensive line in the NFL heading into 2024, at least according to Pro Football Focus.

Instead, that honor belongs to the New York Jets, who claimed the top spot in PFF's Sam Monson's rankings of all 32 teams' defensive fronts following free agency and the draft.

Indeed, it was a fairly turbulent offseason for the Niners defensive line, headlined by the high-profile salary cap-saving release of their longest-tenured player, defensive tackle Arik Armstead. While Armstead dealt with foot injuries over the previous two seasons, losing him was definitely a blow.

Additionally, San Francisco bade farewell to other fill-in pieces with well-known reputations, especially edge rushers like Randy Gregory, Clelin Ferrell and Chase Young.

All told, though, those transactions don't exactly mean the 49ers proverbially fell off PFF's cliff of D-line rankings.

Per Monson, the Niners still rank second best here, trailing only the New York Jets.

Monson wrote:

"Even with the loss of Arik Armstead this offseason, the star power from this defensive line is too good to ignore. Nick Bosa is a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate, racking up 95 quarterback pressures in the 2023 regular season. Javon Hargrave is close to as good as it gets as an interior rusher, and the team added Leonard Floyd as a complement on the outside opposite Bosa.

Depth is an issue, but the top end of this group is outstanding."

Bosa and Hargrave headline this group, while Floyd was the high-profile offseason free-agent pickup who hopes to finally give Bosa the No. 2 complement in the pass-rush department, an element San Francisco has been seeking for years.

Floyd has had at least nine sacks in each of the last four years.

However, one shouldn't count out the 49ers' other offseason pickups, which include a trade for defensive tackle Maliek Collins and another hopeful reclamation project in former Carolina Panthers edge Yetur Gross-Matos.

Both of those two names help alleviate the depth concerns of which Monson spoke.

Naturally, the Niners hope their stars up front can remain healthy over the course of 2024 and avoid the kind of injury bug that decimated this same unit way back in 2020.

If so, being in second place on PFF's list isn't exactly a bad thing.

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