Power ranking each 49ers position group entering Week 1 of 2023 season

The 49ers have one of the best rosters in the NFL, but how does each position stack up against each other?
San Francisco 49ers Offseason Workout
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Talanoa Hufanga, Deommodore Lenoir, Charvarius Ward, 49ers
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No. 5: Defensive Backs

We've reached the part of the power rankings where these position groups will showcase numerous playmakers and star-level players. The No. 5 position on the list has two stalwarts in safety Talanoa Hufanga, whose stellar first half propelled him to an All-Pro nod, and cornerback Charvarius "Mooney" Ward, who stabilized the CB1 position for San Francisco.

Both players played exceptionally well, and both have easy ways to improve. Hufanga's game is predicated on his great instincts, but when the big plays don't come, he struggled a bit in the second half, finding a way to stay solid even when the splash plays don't happen is his next step. Ward simply needs to refine his play to become a true upper-echelon CB1.

The rest of the defensive starters are solid, if not spectacular. Safety Tashaun Gipson's play allowed the 49ers to move Jimmie Ward to nickel back last year, but his gaudy interception totals are more a reflection of his good fortune than supreme ball skills. CB Deommodore Lenoir took over following Emmanuel Moseley's ACL tear, and his uneven performance in the regular season stabilized into exceptional CB play in the playoffs.

That said, Lenoir is a bit undersized to play outside corner, and his up-and-down career to this point makes it very difficult to assume high-level play.

That is a solid foursome, but the real questions start after that. The 49ers paid decent money for Isaiah Oliver to man the nickel position, but his play has been so poor that the team will now likely slot Lenoir in on nickel and bring Ambry Thomas to play the second boundary corner. Thomas has impressed in training camp and preseason, but his play is also questionable. They're all backed up by Sam Womack III, who has fashioned himself as a jack of all who might push for starting time this year.

At safety, the 49ers have rookie third-rounder Ji'Ayir Brown as the third safety and the aforementioned special teams ace George Odum. It is the depth where the defensive room falls a little flat compared to the position groups ahead of them, but with multiple high-level starters, they slot nicely in the middle of this power ranking.