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.
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.