49ers

Six 49ers newcomers who should make biggest impact on team in 2019

Six 49ers newcomers who should make biggest impact on team in 2019

There were plenty of reasons, in addition to a spate of injuries, for the 49ers finishing last season with just four victories and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

General manager John Lynch addressed many of the 49ers' weaknesses through free agency, the draft and one noteworthy trade.

As the 49ers near the halfway point of their offseason program, here is a look at the newcomers who should make the biggest impacts during the 2019 season:

DEs Dee Ford/Nick Bosa

The team’s lack of an outside pass rush was its fatal flaw last season. There was nobody at the edge positions to complement DeForest Buckner, who emerged as one of the league’s top inside pass-rushers.

As a result, quarterbacks had plenty of time to throw and could pick apart the 49ers’ pass defense. The 49ers managed an NFL single-season all-time worst two interceptions on the season. General manager John Lynch did something about it.

A year ago, the team’s primary outside pass-rushers were Cassius Marsh and Ronald Blair. Marsh has already been cut, and Blair now figures to be a rotational player behind Dee Ford and Nick Bosa.

Ford was acquired from Kansas City for a second-round draft pick in 2020. Ford, 28, had a career-best 13 sacks last season. The 49ers signed Ford to a five-year, $85 million contract upon completion of the trade.

Bosa, the former Ohio State star, is a technician as a pass-rusher. He has active hands and unique lower-body strength, bend and balance. The outside pass rush was the team’s major weakness last season. Now, it could be the 49eres’ strength.

WR Deebo Samuel

The 49ers were afforded the rare opportunity to spend a week around Deebo Samuel as they coached him at the Senior Bowl. They liked what they saw.

The 49ers came to the conclusion that Samuel has the speed, route-running and toughness to step into the starting lineup as a rookie. The 49ers selected him with the No. 36 overall pick.

The addition of Samuel should enable the team to move Marquise Goodwin to a more specialized role to take advantage of his rare speed. Samuel and Dante Pettis, the team’s second-round pick last season, figure to be the team’s top two wideouts this season.

Kendrick Bourne, the 49ers’ top-producing wide receiver last season, should continue to have a role as part of the team’s receiver rotation.

LB Kwon Alexander

Despite seeing Kwon Alexander’s fourth NFL season come to an early end with a torn ACL, the 49ers made him their No. 1 priority in free agency. Alexander was signed to take over the spot the 49ers had envisioned Reuben Foster playing for the foreseeable future until numerous off-field issues prompted the 49ers to cut Foster.

Assuming he returns to form after completing his rehab, Alexander is an explosive, dynamic player the 49ers lacked in the middle of their defense. His playmaking should enable the 49ers to improve dramatically in the takeaway category.

Alexander and second-year player Fred Warner should be a good pairing at the middle linebacker and weakside linebacker positions.

RB Tevin Coleman

The 49ers did not go into free agency planning on adding a starting-caliber running back, but Tevin Coleman fell in their laps after a brief courting of Le’Veon Bell went nowhere. Bell and Coleman share the same agent, and Coleman ended up being delivered to the 49ers on a two-year, $8.5 million contract.

Coleman, 26, is a speedster who gained 800 yards (4.8-yard average) and four touchdowns on the ground with 32 catches for 276 yards and five TDs in the passing game last season.

Coleman joins a 49ers stable of running backs that includes Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert. Coleman will certainly carve out a role in Shanahan’s offense after the two were together during the 2015 and ’16 seasons with the Falcons.

CB Jason Verrett

The 49ers like a lot of things about cornerback Jason Verrett, and they consider him a legitimate starting cornerback.

[RELATED: Nick Bosa knew from an early age he wanted to rush the passer]

However, Verrett, 27, has been unable to stay healthy long enough to demonstrate his vast potential. He was the Chargers’ first-round draft pick in 2014. But in five years in the NFL, Verrett has appeared in just 25 games due to shoulder, knee and Achilles’ injuries.

If he can get healthy and stay healthy, Verrett has a strong chance of winning the starting job opposite Richard Sherman.

How Jimmy Garoppolo's impact on 49ers' offense goes beyond numbers

How Jimmy Garoppolo's impact on 49ers' offense goes beyond numbers

Despite the 49ers finishing with a 13-3 record and advancing to Super Bowl LIV, few NFL pundits seem willing to give Jimmy Garoppolo any credit for the team’s success.

The quarterback needed just eight pass attempts to defeat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, as San Francisco rode a dominant run game and suffocating defensive performance to a 37-20 victory.

Fox Sports 1’s Colin Cowherd isn’t among the detractors and voiced his support for Jimmy G ahead of a Super Bowl showdown with reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes.

“He carried this team in the middle of the season when they fell apart physically,” Cowherd said on "The Herd" this week. “I’m not a stat guy, I’m an eye guy. Watch the games.”

The success of the run game for the Niners this season didn’t necessitate a lot of pass-heavy games, but Garoppolo still finished eighth among qualified NFL quarterbacks in passer rating.

[RELATED: 49ers taking entire staff to Super Bowl]

When the 49ers have ended up in a shootout this year, Garoppolo has stepped up.

When they’ve needed him to just manage the game and make the occasional throw downfield, Garoppolo has stepped up.

No matter what the scenario, Garoppolo has delivered and this 49ers team wouldn't be anywhere near the Super Bowl without his steady leadership guiding the offense.

Jimmy G now has the chance to solidify himself among the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks when he and the Niners take the field against the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami for Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium.

49ers taking entire staff to Miami for Super Bowl 54, Jed York reveals

49ers taking entire staff to Miami for Super Bowl 54, Jed York reveals

The 49ers will fly to Miami on Sunday to play in the NFL franchise’s seventh Super Bowl. Despite this being a semi-regular thing, CEO Jed York isn’t treating it that way.

York said Friday that he’s bringing all full-time staff to Miami for Super Bowl week and treating them to the game. He even mentioned bringing interns.

That’s, you know, a lot of people on the 49ers’ dime.

“We're taking a lot of people. We wanted to make sure that our entire staff had the opportunity to go,” York said in a meeting with local reporters. “Everybody from [head coach Kyle Shanahan to general manager John Lynch] all the way down to interns, everyone's been a part of this, and we wanted to make sure they're there to help and also celebrate the moment that hopefully gets us over the hump."

That’s an unusual benefit for support staff outside football operations, one that will allow everyone involved with the 49ers to enjoy a week basking in the team’s achievements leading up to Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium.

[RELATED: Jed York felt 49ers could reach Super Bowl when they drafted Nick Bosa]

The 49ers are trying to win their sixth Super Bowl title, which would tie them with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots for the most in NFL history. The Chiefs are currently 1.5-point favorites in this clash of Titans.