5 underrated 49ers players who could make a massive impact in 2024

San Francisco 49ers safety Ji'Ayir Brown (27)
San Francisco 49ers safety Ji'Ayir Brown (27) / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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The 49ers have plenty of stars and household names, but these five less-discussed players could play substantial roles in 2024.

The San Francisco 49ers are one of the NFL's top contenders heading into 2024. Despite coming off a Super Bowl loss last February, the Niners' core remains largely intact during the opening waves of the league's new year.

It sure helps to have plenty of stars on the roster. Names like tight end George Kittle, edge Nick Bosa, linebacker Fred Warner, left tackle Trent Williams, running back Christian McCaffrey, wide receiver Deebo Samuel and quarterback Brock Purdy all help in ensuring San Francisco's standing as a serious Super Bowl threat.

But it can often be the lesser stars who ultimately help turn a playoff-contending team into a Super Bowl-contending one.

The 49ers have plenty of those under-the-radar players who fit into that category, too, and these five could ultimately wind up playing substantial roles for the Niners over the course of 2024.

No. 5: Safety Ji'Ayir Brown

At this point, it's unclear whether or not All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga will be 100-percent recovered from the torn ACL suffered last season, which led to then-rookie defensive back Ji'Ayir Brown taking over closer to the box.

The third-round NFL Draft choice out of Penn State impressed in his newfound starting role, finishing with 35 tackles, four pass breakups and two interceptions in relief of Hufanga.

With veteran safety Tashaun Gipson unsigned, Brown seems poised to take on a substantially bigger role in the defensive backfield regardless of Hufanga's immediate future.

Young defensive backs often struggle early in their pro careers, but Brown can look to build upon a solid start in which he held opposing quarterbacks to a 78.4 passer rating when targeting him.

If Brown's ascent continues on an expected trajectory, he easily could be a much bigger household name in 2024.