2015 Depth Charts Update: San Francisco 49ers

A breakdown of the San Francisco 49ers' Depth Chart after Free Agency and the Draft.

| 2 years ago
SF Off

2015 Depth Charts Update: San Francisco 49ers


SF Off

SF Def

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Notes

  • Despite losing Mike Iupati, this is still a good offensive line, lead by Joe Staley at left tackle. Who replaces Iupati will still be important but from center Daniel Kilgore to right tackle Anthony Davis the line is solid enough, with all three grading positively as run blockers. The battle at left guard looks to be between Joe Looney, who really struggled in pass protection on limited work last year, and second-year player Brandon Thomas, who missed his rookie year through injury.
  • At wide receiver, gone are Michael Crabtree and Steve Johnson, and in comes deep threat Torrey Smith and rookie DeAndre Smelter. Smelter’s impact as a rookie will likely be limited due to an injury sustained in college, but Smith is an intriguing option, who could really allow the 49ers to make the most of Colin Kaepernick’s arm strength. The signal-caller has struggled in recent years, but Smith made a name for himself in Baltimore, making plays downfield despite having suspect hands at times. An underrated aspect of his game is his ability to draw defensive holding and pass interference penalties, too.
  • The big news for the 49ers at linebacker this offseason was the retirement of not just Patrick Willis, but Chris Borland as well. That saw them drop from having three of the best inside linebackers in football to just one. It leaves Michael Wilhoite as a starter again, after an up-and-down season in 2014. An undrafted free agent back in 2011, he graded negatively against the run, but positively in coverage.
  • Chris Culliver’s departure hurts the defense, and it leaves Chris Cook and Shareece Wright battling for a starting spot opposite Tramaine Brock. Cook played just 48 snaps last year, but looked solid when he was on the field. His problem has been inconsistency, but that’s still better than Wright, who has struggled so much that he was our fourth lowest graded cornerback in 2014, and our seventh lowest graded in 2013.

 

 

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • ComeWarfare

    I think the coaching staff is the biggest question mark here. Even with how many players the Niners have lost, they are still one of the more loaded rosters in the NFL. I think they have a lot of promising young CBs, and that Wright will not be the starter by Game 1. I really like Dontae Johnson, and think he will be solid, and Acker, Reaser, and Cromartie all have a decently high ceiling. I’m surprised that Wilhoite rated so poorly, but I guess Borland’s monster performance against the run must have covered up Wilhoite’s deficiency. The D-line, and safety are still absolutely stacked. Tank, Dial, and Armstead all have a ton of potential. This team could go 13-3 or 5-11. I just want the season to start already.

    • Jason Williams

      Jim T has not exactly inspired confidence.

      • Greg Wood

        I would argue the opposite. Based on his limited body of work I think he is off to a great start. Shoring up delay of game issues is at the top of my list of issues with the Harbaugh regime. Add on no sweeps or underneath routes to that list and Jimmy T has been on top of all of the above. I don’t know how things will end but I like how they are starting.

        • ComeWarfare

          Agreed. I’ll never be happy about the way they pushed a coach of Harbaugh’s caliber out the door, but there isn’t really much to judge JT on at this point. He had one bad interview, oh well, people get nervous. Everyone on the team seems to be responding well to him in OTAs, he’s made it clear that he is going to try and fix the glaring issues of the past couple years, clock management especially, The dude is miles ahead of the numbskulls the Niners had at the helm during the 00s as far as X’s and O’s. He is an unknown quantity though, I’m not going to judge him yet.

          • zinn21 zinn21

            I don’t agree they pushed Harbaugh out the door. They gave him four seasons to clean up a dysfunctional Offense and it only got worse.

        • MATT

          agreed

    • theowl

      I agree with you on the corners… I think at least one of the three drafted last year will be starting.

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  • Jefftex

    I thought WR Quinton Patton was on the 49ers.

    • Dalen Erickson

      ? He is

  • Dalen Erickson

    I dont understand why they keep drafting TEs. I think McDonald, Celek and Carrier all have great potential. Hopefully Vernon can get back to his old self but if not they have a TON of options behind him that theyve never given much of a chance outside McDonald.

    • theowl

      Well Davis is gone next year, so they will have to figure it out.

      • the Block

        Yeah, Davis likely IS gone next season, and I disagree about the potential of our remaining TEs, I think the ones we drafted this year could wind up better. I liked what I saw from Carrier last season though.

        • Dalen Erickson

          Really? We haven’t seen them play that much though. I really like McDonald but clearly the coaching staff must share your view as they search continues.

          • the Block

            I actually don’t like McDonald, lol. I don’t see him as a long term solution. Maybe he can throw a block, but he has no hands. I’ll give him credit for improving on his rookie season though, hopefully he continues to.

          • Dalen Erickson

            Hey brother you would no better than me. It is your team. Ive just liked what Ive seen from him as an all purpose TE. So many TEs these days are just big WRs who cant block so I appreciate the “true” TEs. Maybe this is just an optimistic fan talking, but I think Vernon is a candidate for comeback player of the year. Hes the most athletic TE Ive ever seen. If he had landed somewhere like NE that prioritizes the TE in the passing game, I think his numbers would be unreal

          • the Block

            Yeah, in NE in his prime, he could have been as big as Gronk. Maybe bigger. Even with Graham in the division now, he has the ability to be the best TE in the nfc west. He probably won’t, but I do see a big comeback season for him, for sure.

          • Dalen Erickson

            agreed

      • Dalen Erickson

        Sad as it is I think your right. Im a big fan of Vernon so I am optimistic that he can get back to his old self. Hes still young and few men have more athletic ability than he does

  • Dalen Erickson

    Docket had 11 run stuffs his last healthy season. To have him as below average just because he was hurt last year is sacrilege. He is at LEAST good but I would say very good. premium run stuffer as well as a pretty damn good pass rusher. Having Ian WIlliams rated higher then him….just blows my mind

    • ComeWarfare

      Ian Williams has been an above average, if not exceptional NT when he is healthy. I just hope that leg stays intact this year! Dockett is definitely at least good though.

    • the Block

      Both players have trouble staying healthy as of late. I agree the Dockett rating is ridiculous, but I like the Williams rating, he is a solid young NT, which is not easy to come by. I like to plan to move Dorsey out to DE a lot too. Might as well put our best men out there. I hope to see at least one of the younger D lineman (Tank, Dial, Armstead) have a breakout year too.

      • Dalen Erickson

        Thats fair. I havnt seen a ton of tape on Williams so you would know better than I would. Yes Dorsey really played great in that role for KC. He is more of a penetrative, pass rushing type than a space eating monster like WIlliams so it just makes perfect sense

        • the Block

          Yeah, I like Williams, and he is more physically suited for NT than Dorsey. He doesn’t have a ton of tape, but with the stuff that he has done, the coaches have taken notice. This is a guy who went from undrafted to starter in a season. Very impressive. Really hoping he stays healthy, but if not, we have backup.

          • Dalen Erickson

            Yes I like Dial as well. Im hoping to see more of Tank this year. I really liked him in college

    • Dildo Baggins

      Premium run stuffer?!?!?!?1+1+ Docket has the lowest run defence grade of ANY player since 2007.

      • Dalen Erickson

        Hey man I don’t study all of the stats on here as well as you do, clearly. I mostly go by what I can observe in games and statistics (which commonly leads me astray). Im amazed that a guy with 11 stuffs in 13 was graded that low. He mustve either hit home or whiffed on every play. Clearly the 9rs think otherwise and I think their staff knows a little more about football than you and I but we will have to see.

  • Dalen Erickson

    Bishop is several years removed from his glory days in GreenBay but he was a 3 year starter. I assume they have him grey simply because we haven’t really seen him play since all of his recent injuries but before that we have a lot of tape to look at. I guess I understand it.

  • Tim

    Except Anthony Davis suddenly retired today….

    • ManicAeon

      Sucks, but it probably means now they keep Alex Boone, and he gets a big payday. He is a better tackle than he is a guard, so it might honestly be an improvement if Brandon Thomas, Marcus Martin, and Daniel Kilgore fill the interior line. I can’t imagine a Staley – Thomas – Kilgore – Martin – Boone line not being at least above average, if not exceptional. It makes a position where they had a ton of injury trouble last year even thinner though, and that sucks. That line last year just couldn’t stay health, and had way too much shifting around. If the injury bug doesn’t bite, I still say this is an above average OL even without Davis. Also, their rookie 7th rounder Trenton Brown has looked solid at tackle in OTAs, doesn’t mean much, but I can’t imagine a worse backup than Jonathan Martin was last year.

    • ComeWarfare

      Sucks, but it probably means now they keep Alex Boone, and he gets a big
      payday. He is a better tackle than he is a guard, so it might honestly
      be an improvement if Brandon Thomas, Marcus Martin, and Daniel Kilgore
      fill the interior line. I can’t imagine a Staley – Thomas – Kilgore –
      Martin – Boone line not being at least above average, if not
      exceptional. It makes a position where they had a ton of injury trouble
      last year even thinner though, and that sucks. That line last year just
      couldn’t stay health, and had way too much shifting around. If the
      injury bug doesn’t bite, I still say this is an above average OL even
      without Davis. Also, their rookie 7th rounder Trenton Brown has looked
      solid at tackle in OTAs, doesn’t mean much, but I can’t imagine a worse
      backup than Jonathan Martin was last year.

      • theowl

        I think Boone would be better than Davis with the Niners move to more of a zone blocking scheme

        • ComeWarfare

          Yeah, I believe Boone played tackle in college, and the dude is 6’8 with great feet. I will be very surprised if they don’t slide him over, he has been better than Davis when he plays tackle. Boone would still probably rank as a top 5 RT. I’m trying to stay optimistic, the offseason has been brutal, but there is still a lot of young talent on the roster, just a lot of unproven talent.

        • the Block

          Doesn’t feel like our o line would be very good at zone blocking, but I’m no expert.

          • theowl

            I think that is a fair assessment given the 49ers run style and personnel over the the last few years, but their big bruisers, Iupati and Davis, are gone. Staley, Boone and Kilgore all seem pretty athletic. I am not sure about Pears, but Brandon Thomas looks like a long distance runner from the waist down… like he only works out his upper body. He could end up at right tackle as well Boone, Pears and Brown. The team has quite a few options. Of course I don’t know if they will actually move to a zone scheme, but that is what I read. I think the 49ers would love to have their offense look like the Raven’s last year. It looks like the Broncos are going in that direction as well.

      • theowl

        I think Pears will crack your lineup before Marcus Martin, who was terrible last year. But who knows, Martin was a rookie, so there is hope.

  • Supychou

    Not a 49ers fan, but Boldin should be High Quality, IMO. I really really like the guy and the way he plays.

  • Antonio

    Better update this since Anthony Davis is now gone.

    • the Block

      This 49ers offseason has really been trying for the PFF team, hasn’t it?

  • theowl

    Not sure why Bethea is rated lower than Whitner. Sure seems like Bethea had a High Quality year… and arguably a better year than Whitner.

    • the Block

      Agreed. Some around the league even felt he had a better year than Kam Chancellor.

      • SeattleBrian

        ridiculous if anyone thought that idea.