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Know Your Enemy: San Francisco 49ers

Know Your Enemy turns its focus from the AFC East to the NFC West. The first stop on the enemy tour is the San Francisco 49ers led by GM John Lynch and assistant GM Martin Mayhew (stud GM). The 49ers are trying to build into a good team as they haven’t made the playoffs since Jim Harbaugh left to coach some crappy college team. Let’s take a look at the 49ers led by Jimmy “Joe Montana” Garappolo.

Potential Strengths

Defensive line

The 49ers have used a lot of high drat picks on talented defensive line. Arik Armstead (Right End, 1.5 sacks), DeForrest Buckner (DT, 3 sacks) and Solomon Thomas (LE, 3 sacks) is a pretty good defensive line on paper. As they grow and enter their primes, they could be menacing. They are figuring out a move to a 4-3 under Robert Saleh’s (DC) defense. Earl Thomas is a veteran nose tackle but offers mainly run stuffing. Jeremiah Attoachu (gesundheit), Sheldon Day and 4th round pick Kentavius Street is lackluster depth.

Secondary

Richard Sheman joins the 49ers and leaves the Legion of Boom. Sherman (I’m talkin bout Sherman) has been a good CB but is coming off an achilles injury. 3rd round pick from 2017 Ahkello Witherspoon has talent and K’Waun Williams makes a solid nichel corner. Jimmie Ward is a first round pick nickel/safety hybrid and Jaquiski Tartt and 3rd round pick Tarvarius Moore is a weak safety tandem but they will have Ward’s help.

QB

Jimmy G is the man for the 49ers. He performed well in five games with them in 2017 with a 96.2 QB rating in 2017. The 49ers gave him a monster deal with little proof of him as a franchise guy. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan’s job depends on Jimmy being a good QB.

Weakness

Run Game

Carlos Hyde left in free agency to the Browns. Jerrick McKinnon joins as the main back from the Vikings. McKinnon can carry the load and catch the ball as he did for the Vikings for four years. Matt Breida had 4.4 YPC in 2017 and 4th round pick Joseph Williams has a shot for touches too.

Offensive line

Joe Staley is a good LT and the 49ers used a first round pick on Mike McGlinchey to play right tackle after trading Trent Brown to the Patriots. Weston Richburg was added at center on a big deal. Laken Tomlinson was decent enough to earn a 3 year deal (cough Martin Mayhew) after being traded last year from the Lions. Former first round picks Joshua Garnett and Jonathan Cooper battle for the right guard spot. There is talent here but Richburg is oft-injured and the guards have issues.

Weapons

Pierre Garcon (500 yards) used to be good but struggled in year 1 for the 49ers. Marquise Goodwin is a speedster off a good year (962 yards and 2 TDs). Dante Pettis is a rookie drafted in Round 2 to help. George Kittle had 515 yards and 2 TDs at TE. Aldrick Robinson is depth WR and Trent Taylor is the slot. The 49ers need more weapons badly.

Linebacker

Reuben Foster avoided jail time and got a 2 game suspension. Eli Harold and Malcolm Smith could be decent SAM and Will Lbs. Fed Warner is a 3rd round pick backup and Dekoda Watson is veteran backup on the outside. The 49ers need more help at LB.

Schedule

49ers open the season at Minnesota in Week 1 and host the Lions in Week 2. They travel to Green Bay in Week 6 and host the Bears in Week 16. The entire North should beat the 49ers unless Jimmy G pulls off some magic.