Wednesday, May 26, 2021

San Francisco 49ers 2021 Post-Draft NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the San Francisco 49ers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 7.6 (8th)
  • Best ranking: 6th (CBS Sports)
  • Worst ranking: 9th (Multiple)

Below you will find a post-draft roundup for the 49ers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 9

Players who benefited most from draft: The receiver group

Picking one player who benefited most is difficult, but the players who were probably happiest to see the Niners not make a significant draft addition were the wide receivers. Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are the unquestioned top two but with Kendrick Bourne gone to New England, many thought the Niners would at least add someone to compete for the open slot receiver job. Instead, the 49ers eschewed the position for the first time in the past 19 drafts, leaving the likes of Richie James, Jalen Hurd and Mohamed Sanu Sr. to battle for Bourne's vacated snaps. -- Nick Wagoner -- Rank: 9

We're still not entirely sure who was the target of the smokescreen, but the Niners were ultimately successful in masking their intentions before selecting Trey Lance with the third overall pick. Lance is a bit of a mystery prospect due to his sparsity of college reps, but the upside -- which factors in his physical and mental tools and the QB-friendly system he enters into -- is enormous. What this means for Jimmy Garoppolo is unknown: He still makes sense as a trade candidate, but he also cuts the profile of a fine insurance policy for a Niners team that can rightfully say it has Super Bowl aspirations despite last season's 6-10 clunker.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 7

Even if it's Jimmy Garoppolo playing quarterback, the return of healthy players makes this a much better team than a year ago. Trey Lance might wait to play.

USA Today -- Rank: 6

Even if QB Trey Lance, the draft's No. 3 overall pick, takes a redshirt season, this team will be formidable if its main players merely stay healthy in 2021.

The Athletic -- Rank: 7

There are a number of statistical indicators to suggest the 49ers could be due for a bounce-back season in 2021. According to TruMedia's Expected Points Added (EPA) model, only two teams were hurt more by turnovers than the 49ers last season. It's true that bad teams often get crushed by turnovers. But there's also luck and randomness involved. A little regression to the mean with turnovers would help San Francisco in a big way.

The 49ers also had the worst injury luck of any team last season. And they faced the third-toughest schedule. This year, if we go by projected win totals from the betting markets, the 49ers have the NFL's easiest schedule. Bottom line: They were one of the NFL's most unlucky teams last year and are one of the most likely teams to rebound in 2021.

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