Five bold predictions for 49ers' 2019 season on training-camp week
DeForest Buckner voted to All-Pro team
DeForest Buckner made his first Pro Bowl in 2018, and he'll be voted as an All-Pro for the first time in 2019.
The former first-round pick enjoyed a breakout season last year when he totaled 12 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. He accounted for 32 percent of the team's sacks last season and should be freed up more this season with the acquisition of Dee Ford and adding Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick in the draft. Buckner, who turns 26 in March, could establish himself as one of the best defensive linemen in the league this year. At 6-foot-7 and 300 pounds, he's a force to be reckoned with and clearly is a star on the rise.
Jimmy G will start all 16 games
At first glance, predicting a franchise quarterback will start all 16 games doesn't seem too bold. Garoppolo is a special case, though.
The last image we have of the 49ers' starting QB is of him in a medical cart in the third game of the season last year. He tore his ACL in a loss to the Chiefs and only has 10 starts under his belt since being drafted in 2014. Garoppolo doesn't have a long history of injuries, however.
Throughout college, Garoppolo never dealt with a serious injury. He even played linebacker in high school and clearly isn't afraid to take a hit. For someone who signed a $137.5 million deal in February 2018, staying healthy is key. Garoppolo appears "good to go" for training camp and should be smarter when it comes to taking hits, sliding and getting out of bounds this year.
Trent Taylor breaks out
New jersey number, new Trent Taylor?
Entering his third season with the 49ers, the slot receiver could be primed for a breakout season after a disappointing sophomore year. Taylor is back to full health after back surgery and looked like a rejuvenated player during the team's offseason program.
Second-round pick Deebo Samuel could take catches away from Taylor, but the rookie already is dealing with a groin injury and had a history of injury issues in college. Garoppolo has great chemistry with Taylor, and working with Wes Welker should pay dividends for the 49ers in Year 3.
Top 10 in sacks
The 49ers desperately needed to address their pass rush after an ugly season. And they did just that.
As previously mentioned, the signing of edge rusher Dee Ford and selection of defensive end Nick Bosa should do wonders. Not only should both of those players produce plenty of sacks on their own, but they should also help free up players like Buckner and others.
San Francisco has a defensive line full of former first-round picks. While players like Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas have disappointed thus far, both could make leaps in their third pro season.
The 49ers finished last season tied for 22nd in the NFL with 37 sacks. Expect that number to increase exponentially and put them in the top 10 of the league.
Ending the playoff drought
The 49ers haven't made the playoffs since 2013. They've gone through three different head coaches since then, and a whole lot of losses.
It's time for the playoff drought to end.
With Garoppolo full ingrained into Kyle Shanahan's offense and multiple weapons around him, points should be scored in bunches. With one of the best defensive lines in football, opposing quarterbacks could have nightmares.
This isn't where we say Jimmy G will hoist the Lombardi Trophy, but the 49ers will be at least in the NFC Wild Card Game, and could even compete to win the NFC West.