2015 Depth Charts: San Francisco 49ers

| 2 years ago

2015 Depth Charts: San Francisco 49ers


•  Colin Kaepernick has seen his grade fall significantly in each of the past two seasons, and it’s fair to wonder if he can ever get back to what we saw in his first stint as a starter in 2012. He struggled as a passer this season and needs to halt the skid in 2015.

•   Joe Staley continues to be one of the premier left tackles in the league. The best player on the 49ers’ roster, he has been one of our top five highest-graded offensive tackles in each of the past three seasons.

•  What are they going to do at Inside Linebacker? Chris Borland’s emergence last season as a rookie could push one of the veterans towards the exit, but both are still amongst the best linebackers in the game.

•  At nose tackle we haven’t seen enough of Ian Williams, what we have seen has been very good, though, and it’s not unreasonable to expect a lot from him next season based on his work on limited snaps so far.


Team Needs

Cornerback: Tramaine Brock impressed in a stint as a starter in 2013, but that’s really all we’ve seen of him. This year he was limited by injuries and it takes a bit of a leap of faith to put your stock in that one good run and believe he can be your top cornerback. Even if he can there are still too many other questions at the position that bringing in some help wouldn’t be a bad move.

Wide Receiver: While he is still a good player, Anquan Boldin can’t go on forever. His career is definitely in decline and even if they can get another couple of years out of him, there isn’t much beyond he and Steve Johnson at the position.

Left Guard: The only projected starter on the offensive line lower than Good is left guard Joe Looney. Starting four games across the interior offensive line in 2014, he failed to impress and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them try to upgrade in 2015.


Click here to see the rest of the charts.

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • Chris

    Whoever’s responsible for drafting their LBs needs to draft for the Bengals for a few years.

  • Jaguars28

    Generous rating for Vernon Davis.

    I can see this team bouncing back if they become fully healthy. The defense is still good, they just have some holes to fill on offense. Need to get Kaepernick some weapons.

    • LIMetfan22

      That line backing core is just ridiculous.

      • 510 Sports

        2013 they were really ridiculous. 2015 there will be some proving needed.

  • AJ

    I thought Eric Reid was at least above average, but I guess not. It’ll be interesting to see how much Jim Harbaugh’s exit impacts this team that’s getting a lot of key players back from injury next year.

  • PetEng

    Looney and TJE won’t be seeing starter level snaps. Brandon Thomas and Tank/Dockett likely playing those positions. No ‘known’ below average starters on the starting roster is pretty impressive.

    • SeattleSteve


  • AloysiusMcFudd

    Kap has 4 playoff wins, threw for 300 yds in the Super Bowl, threw 4 TDs against Brady in a road win over NE, set an NFL record of 181 yds rushing in a playoff game, and is 3-0 vs. Rodgers, and you call him AVERAGE? If he hadn’t been handcuffed by Harbaugh and Roman and their idiotic game planning and play calling, he’d be considered Elite. Eat crow next year.

    • Chris


    • Jaguars28

      49ers had the third-worst passing attack despite a good running game, so…

      • PetEng

        2014 9ers had the 18th QB passer rating in the NFL. Below average, but certainly not bottom 3.

        • Chris

          2012: 8 of 10 held under 250 passing yards. 62% completions. Graded 12th as a thrower and 26th as a runner. Top 15 overall.

          2013: 15 of 19 games held under 250 passing yards. 58% completions. Graded 19th as a thrower and 8th as a runner. Top 20 overall.

          2014: 13 of 17 games held under 250 passing yards. 61% completions. Graded 28th as a passer and 6th as a runner. Top 30 overall.

          This is a guy who’s never been accurate, rarely throws over 250 yards a game, has relied on his legs more and more while he’s regressed as a passer. He’s played with a great defense, great running game, and great OL his whole career.

          Bottom line on this guy, IMO, he was at his best in 2012 when the read-option was newer to the NFL. Teams weren’t as prepared for that style of play, and he was able to use his big arm and take advantage of a lot of play action. Fast forward to 2014 and teams have started to adapt to it while he’s still a mediocre passer trapped in a freakishly athletic body.

          • Jaguars28

            Hey Chris, what do you think of Rey Maualuga’s extension?

          • Chris
          • Chris

            For real though, I’ve been very critical of him before, but he had a better year last year and he knows the system. We need help on the DL so bringing him back plugs a hole, and we can focus on the line in the draft.

          • PetEng

            So, you’re saying SF passing offense wasn’t 18th out of 32 teams?
            Kaep had a below average season, probably around ~20th in the league. So I’m not quite sure why you wrote that long diatribe. I basically agree with you.

            If Kaep plays like that again he’s gone. If he plays like 2013 – he stays. If he plays like 2012 he’ll be lauded around the league.

          • Chris

            I never disagreed with that. I was providing some thought on why I think he’s graded as Average above.

          • PetEng

            I thought average was a fair rating.

    • MosesZD

      One game does not a career make. And the 49ers, with Kaepernick starting 3.5 of the last 4 years have finished 29th, 22nd, 30th and 30th in passing offense.

      And even the mediocre Doug Williams had one great Superbowl… And Dilfer won his Superbowl… Yet HOF Jim Kelly was 0-for-4…

      • AloysiusMcFudd

        Stay in school…4 playoff wins didn’t come in one game!

      • AloysiusMcFudd

        Three of those seasons they went to the NFC title game and one to the Super Bowl. Shows what stats mean. Now that Harbaugh and Roman are gone, we’ll see Kap shine.

        • PatriotDan

          Now that Harbaugh is gone, you’ll see Kaep and the niners become even bigger jokes.

        • MosesZD

          And Trent Dilfer went to a pro-bowl one year! For Tampa! And won a Superbowl for Baltimore.

          By your logic, Dilfer must have been great.

      • PetEng

        What stupid statistic for passing performance are you using? Total yards? Laughable.

        • MosesZD

          Ah, so a constantly declining QB rating. A passing game that ranks 30th two years in a row (go to NFL.COm and look, it’s right there on the team page). And a QB who’s clearly been carried by the rest of the team is great.

          We should enshrine Trent Dilfer immediately. He went to the PRO-BOWL with Tampa. He won a Superbowl with Baltimore.

          Under ‘being carried by a team’ logic, Dilfer was a great QB.

    • TrentDilfer

      Give me that Niner Defense and let me pass against that garbage Packer defense and I’d be 3-0 against Rodgers too.

      • Blaine Galbert

        No would not you would throw five picks you bum Trent Dilfer

      • MosesZD

        Yeah. Pretty much.

    • MosesZD

      lol Read-option, son. Read-option. Once that got figured out, Kaepernick went south.

      • AloysiusMcFudd

        Ridiculous, but its up to the OC to give his QB the tools he needs to win. Roman’s play-calling was Pop Warner and Harbaugh thought it was good.

  • NW_AJ

    OK… something isn’t right here…

    Vernon Davis had a -15.8 overall grade last year, a bottom 5 TE grade for players who played at least %50 of snaps.

    Jared Cook had a +4.4 overall grade last year, and was 13th overall in grade for players who played at least %50 of snaps.

    Yet BOTH are rated average. Ok Gordon, you got some splainin to do. Davis deserves to be below average at the very least.

    • bobrulz

      It’s weighted towards the recent season, but it takes their entire career into account. Vernon Davis was the 6th-highest graded TE in 2013 and 7th in 2012. 2014 was a down year for him.

      Jared Cook meanwhile has been right around a 0 grade from 2011-2013. Last year was a good year by his standards.

      Average it all out and they’re both average players. If anything they’re being harsh on Vernon Davis since he’s been a very good player until last season.

      • Chris


  • Mohammad

    with Willis and Justin Smith’s retirements…this changes everything as far as depth and draft needs…

    • PetEng

      Best player available. With maybe a slight emphasis on DL.

      • SeattleSteve

        And QB.