Oliver may or may not be dead. In his potential permanent absence, I feel the need to step up and fill the article gap. That’s it for backstory, time for the article. The first thing we will touch upon is what the 49ers did in the free agency period.
Notable FA Additions:
CB Richard Sherman
G Jonathan Cooper
G/C Weston Richburg
DL Cassius Marsh
RB Jerick McKinnon
DL Jeremiah Attaochu
On paper, the addition of Sherman looks like a steal. A castoff in Seattle due to age and an increased amount of internal dispute, the Seahawks saw fit to cast off maybe the most vocal member of the 2013 championship defense. Coming off a severe achilles injury, it’s fair to wonder if Sherman can endure the rigors of a 16 game NFL schedule. If he can, the 49ers pass defense should at the least mimic some of the swagger the Seahawks had. Weston Richburg has been a solid if not spectacular center during his time with the New York Giants, but it’s also fair to wonder why the Giants didn’t re-sign him when the quality of their own offensive line is questionable at best. Cooper likely is nothing more than depth, a proven 1st round bust. McKinnon should be a good fit as a 3rd down back, but probably is not well suited for any sort of heavy workload. Marsh and Attaochu should find abundant playing time with the lack of any sort of proven pass rush on the 49er defense. Marsh is an NFL vagabond and Attaochu has never quite lived up to being a former 2nd round pick.
49er 2018 Draft:
Round 1 Pick 9: OL Mike McGlinchey
Round 2 Pick 44: WR Dante Pettis
Round 3 Pick 70: LB Fred Warner
Round 3 Pick 95: DB Tavaris Moore
Round 4 Pick 128: DL Kentavius Street
Round 5, Pick 142: CB D.J. Reed
Round 6, Pick 184: S Marcell Harris
Round 7, Pick 223: DT Jullian Taylor
Round 7, Pick 240: WR Richie James
In the first round., the 49ers drafted a potential replacement for veteran LT Joe Staley. They might have been better fitted to address their defensive depth issues instead of drafting Staley’s heir apparent a year or two early, but it makes some sense as insurance in the case Staley was to miss any time. WR Dante Pettis has been lauded as a player who should be a good fit for HC Kyle Shanahan’s scheme. It’s also a pick that makes sense with Pierre Garcon’s increasing age and injury from last year. SKA blogger “Sc0tti” thinks this guy is going to destroy records, so there’s that too. Draft grades for this class ran from good to below average from various national outlets. In my opinion, waiting until the 3rd round to address the defense could end up costing the 49ers.
With the 2nd year of Shanahan’s offense, the holdover players from last year should continue to improve in their execution and knowledge of the offense. James Garoppolo having an entire off-season to learn the offense should be a boon for the unit as a whole. Pierre Garcon returning to health should provide an adequate possession option at WR, with Marquis Goodwin providing the deep threat. 2nd year player Trent Taylor should continue to settle in as the 3rd WR. Dante Pettis could push Garcon depending on Garcon’s health and level of play, something I’m sure the 49ers would like to see sooner than later. George Kittle flashed as a rookie last year, and if he continues to progress the 49ers should have a solid starter at TE. The question mark for me is depth on defense. The secondary looks to be in decent shape provided Sherman returns to health and form, however – overall LB depth looks razor thin. Reuben Foster had a good rookie year but is already facing a 2 game suspension very early into his NFL career. I can’t see the outside pass rush being strength whatsoever in 2018. The interior D line seems set up very nicely with Deforest Buckner blossoming into an All Pro caliber player.
Record Prediction: 9-7
The offense is going to have to be a top 3 unit for them to get into double digit wins, defensive depth and the pass rush in particular is going to be the achilles heel here. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a strong push for the 6 seed but anything more at this point is conjecture as best. That is also hinged on the QB staying healthy, but that’s something that can be said for most NFL teams regardless.