The 49ers are heading into the 2022 season with excessive expectations after practically making it to the large dance in 2021.
Everybody on the roster might want to contribute to a repeat go to to the NFL playoffs, however there are just a few gamers that impression the group’s progress on the next degree.
Based mostly on the extent of significance for the group’s success, Matt Maiocco and I every compiled a top-10 listing of a very powerful 49ers gamers waiting for the 2022 season. We thought of how a lot potential the participant has to impression the result of the season, in addition to how a lot the group is counting on mentioned participant to carry out this fall.
Listed here are our lists:
Matt’s No. 10
RG Aaron Banks
The group spent a second-round decide on the guard who has but to see the sector as a starter. After Laken Tomlinson signed as a free agent with the New York Jets, there’s an expectation for the Notre Dame product to step in the place Tomlinson left off and realized his potential on the sector.
JLC’s No. 10
S Jimmie Ward
Because the “eraser” and the longest tenured member of the 49ers’ secondary, Ward is the important thing to the protection’s success. Not solely is his management vital to the younger defensive backs, however his capability to cease anybody that will get to the third degree of protection is crucial to maintain opposing groups out of the top zone.
Matt’s No. 9
Ok Robbie Gould
The 49ers have a tricky schedule dealing with the stacked AFC West in 2022, which probably may result in many shut video games. Gould may very well be the participant who suggestions the scales. If the 40-year-old can keep wholesome and proceed to make clutch kicks late in video games, it may assist propel the membership into the postseason.
JLC’s No. 9
WR Brandon Aiyuk
Trey Lance has a number of strain on his shoulders that the third-year receiver might help alleviate. As a dependable goal for the younger signal-caller, Aiyuk’s consideration to element and chemistry together with his quarterback might be a key to the offense’s success.
Aiyuk has already taken up a management function among the many wideouts and spent a part of the offseason figuring out with Lance away from the ability. The Arizona State product’s efficiency on and off the sector in 2022 is undeniably vital.
Matt’s No. 8
DT Arik Armstead
Armstead’s newfound success in the midst of the defensive position might want to proceed as an impactful a part of each the 49ers ’run protection and talent to strain the quarterback. The prolonged lineman won’t solely have to clog the center of the sector, inflicting third-and-long conditions for opposing offenses, however enhancing on his six sack whole from 2021 will solely assist take consideration away from Nick Bosa.
JLC’s No. 8
LB Fred Warner
Warner received off to a gradual begin in 2021 following his All-Professional season the 12 months prior. The linebacker put undue strain on himself following the signing of a five-year contract extension that retains him with the group by means of 2026 season, however completed the season robust with a daily season career-high 137 whole tackles.
If the “quarterback of the protection” can hold the momentum rolling beginning in Week 1, the chances of a profitable report for the membership solely improve.
Matt’s No. 7
TE George Kittle
One other weapon that may take strain off of Lance is the three-time Professional Bowler and All-Professional tight finish. If Kittle can keep wholesome and proceed to contribute, not solely as a receiver however as a run blocker and in cross safety, the younger quarterback might be arrange for achievement.
JLC’s No. 7
FB Kyle Juszczyk
A productive run recreation is a precedence for Kyle Shanahan, and Juszczyk is a key part within the head coach’s scheme. The fullback isn’t solely a lead blocker for the ball provider, however has proven he can even do it himself incomes his sixth straight Professional Bowl nod in 2021.
With an inexperienced heart, Juszczyk might want to present bodily / blocking assist on the road of scrimmage and veteran management, ensuring there aren’t any communication points by giving assist to Lance within the backfield.
Matt’s No. 6
LB Fred Warner
Warner is the primary crossover participant on each lists, and discovering new methods to make the most of the linebacker will solely assist the protection be extra productive on the sector. Whereas Warner had a great 2021 season with seven tackles for a loss, he has the potential to be even higher. That would embody blitz packages alongside together with his protection abilities.
JLC’s No. 6
TE George Kittle
Lance’s success is instantly related to Kittle and his capability to assist the offensive line in cross safety, in addition to being a dependable goal. The tight finish has the flexibility to make an enormous play out of a examine down that solely makes the quarterback’s job simpler.
Matt’s No. 5
RT Mike McGlinchey
After lacking eight video games in 2020 resulting from a knee damage, the proper sort out is ready as much as be prepared for Week 1. With the inside of the offensive line newer to the scene this season, McGlinchey’s consistency on the proper aspect of the sector might be vital for the membership’s success.
If the fifth 12 months lineman from Notre Dame can have a bounce-back season, it’s going to open up the offense for Lance whereas additionally minimizing strain from the proper aspect.
Matt’s No. 4
S Jimmie Ward
Ward has been an extremely constant contributor to the 49ers’ protection, however he might be even higher. The veteran security has the potential to be a recreation changer if he can produce extra takeaways. 2022 is Ward’s probability to essentially step up.
JLC’s No. 4
The beginning heart
It has not but been decided who will earn the beginning function at heart for the membership. Whereas Jake Brendel took a lot of the first group reps by means of the offseason program, Daniel Brunskill has extra expertise with 546 common season snaps on the place in 2020.
Irrespective of who begins for the membership, the offense’s success in 2022 begins of their palms – actually. Their capability to make the decision and talk with Lance and the remainder of the offense may very well be the make-or-break level for the group.
Matt’s No. 3, JLC’s No. 2
BY Nick Bosa
It’s not as vital for Bosa to beat his 19.5 sack whole from 2021 as it’s to attract consideration away from everybody else on the defensive position. The star cross rusher being held and double teamed solely opens alternatives for the gamers on the opposite aspect of the road, together with Samson Ebukam, Charles Omenihu and rookie Drake Jackson.
JLC’s No. 3, Matt’s No. 2
WR Deebo Samuel
Samuel was one of many greatest causes the 49ers appeared within the NFC Championship recreation in 2021. The “wide-back’s” continued contribution on offense is essential to their potential going ahead. Not solely will Samuel hold opposing defenses guessing, however the wideout’s chemistry with Lance might be vital to the 49ers’ offensive productiveness.
Lance and the All-Professional receiver have but to work collectively extensively through the offseason however have plans within the works, the younger play-caller reported throughout minicamp.
Matt and JLC’s No. 1
CB Charvarius Ward
The 49ers’ big-ticket free company signing was Ward. Shanahan and John Lynch are relying on the cornerback to not solely present management in a younger defensive again room, however to lockdown one aspect of the sector.
Ward taking part in a constant recreation will enable DeMeco Ryans flexibility in his scheme, permitting the protection to proceed of their dominant manner. Ward’s efficiency is important to the membership’s potential to make an look within the playoffs for the second 12 months in a row.
The undisputed, most vital general participant of the 2022 season: QB Trey Lance
The younger quarterback’s success this season will present whether or not the 49ers made the proper choice in buying and selling important draft capital to maneuver as much as the No. 3 general decide of the 2021 NFL Draft and selecting Lance to be the chief of the 49ers.
Lynch and Shanahan are giving the younger play-caller all the instruments obligatory for him to thrive in his second season with the membership. Lastly wholesome after injuring the index finger on his throwing hand through the preseason of his rookie 12 months, Lance’s passes have already been extra crisp and correct throughout OTAs and minicamp. The 22-year-old can have all eyes on him as he heads into his first full season because the beginning quarterback for the membership.
If all gamers on this listing notice their potential, the membership taking part in in video games previous Week 18 ought to develop into a actuality.
For an much more detailed breakdown, hearken to the 49ers Discuss podcast.