The 49ers didn’t have a particularly busy offseason, save for trade rumors of Jimmy Garoppolo and Deebo Samuel. However, his acquisitions were less than ostentatious in free agency, the draft and on the coaching staff.
However, there was a calculation in their offseason where they focused on very specific areas of need instead of spending money on big-name talent. Whether the strategy works remains to be seen, and there will still be some questions to be answered.
However, in a relatively quiet low season, these are the
six seven major movements:
Lynn has big shoes to fill with former 49ers RBs coach Bobby Turner sitting out for the season. However, there aren’t many people more qualified than Lynn to take on that role. He has experience as a head coach and running back coach, and will have a tough job sifting through a tangle of RB options. Lynn will also be tasked with making the most of 2021 third-round pick Trey Sermon after his disappointing rookie year. It will be an uphill battle to keep the 49ers running game effective, and how Lynn does it will be key for San Francisco.
Counting this as two because there is nothing worse than an X top roster that has more than X players on it.
Neither Odum’s nor Burks’ names jump out among the 49ers’ player acquisitions this offseason, but their special-teams résumés are very strong. That will matter for a team that was among the league’s worst special teams units last year. Two players aren’t going to change things completely, but their addition affirms the team’s commitment to improving a group of special teams that severely hurt them more than once last year.
While Davis-Price’s third-round pick is questionable from a team-building standpoint, that doesn’t mean he can’t make an impact during his rookie campaign. The 49ers badly needed a short-distance running back who had the versatility to handle a heavier workload. Davis-Price didn’t have a super-productive college career, but he is an explosive downhill runner who thrived over short distance at LSU. He has a good combination of power and elusiveness that could make him dangerous in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Adding another capable running back alongside Elijah Mitchell could become paramount to the 49ers running game this season.
The 49ers defense starts with their pass rush. Adding a high-quality player on the sidelines was a priority this offseason. Samson Ebukam came in strong to close out last year, but Jackson has a different level of explosiveness and versatility on the rim that could make him an all-down player early in his career. In Year 1, he’ll likely be relegated to a rotating pass rushing role, where his explosiveness can add another layer to a relentless 49ers defensive front that causes problems for four quarters. Jackson doesn’t have to be a Pro Bowler right away. However, he can definitely turn the pressure from him to the passer.
Griese has a big task ahead of him with the development of Trey Lance. This will go beyond this year. Obviously, the club wants Lance to get going and have them in contention for a championship right away. However, Griese is focusing on helping Lance get through the inevitable growing pains that come with being an NFL signal-caller. How Lance handles adversity in his first season as a starter will set the course for him for the rest of his career, and Griese will be instrumental in helping him aim that arrow as high as possible.
The 49ers badly need their secondary to improve this year. If nothing else, they just need consistency. Ward is the first major investment this iteration of the San Francisco front office has made (outside of the gamble they made with Richard Sherman after the Achilles tear). They need this one to work out, and if Ward steps in and plays effectively, he creates a ripple effect that takes the pressure off the 49ers CB depth. Ward blocking one side with Emmanuel Moseley on the other would give San Francisco perhaps the best cornerback duo they’ve had in the Shanahan era. Combining a quality secondary with a dynamite passing rush is how the 49ers got to the Super Bowl in 2019.