Marcio Jose Sanchez-AP

Marcio Jose Sanchez-AP



ESPN gathered three of its Insiders and had them rank all 32 NFL teams based on what shape the franchise will be in over the next three seasons. They call the annual list their NFL Future Power Rankings.

Louis Riddick, who was briefly a candidate for the San Francisco 49ers' general manager job, Mike Sando, and Field Yates were the ESPN Insiders evaluating the teams.

The team rankings were determined based on the following categories and scoring weight:

  • Roster, excluding quarterback (30 percent)
  • Quarterback (20 percent)
  • Draft (15 percent)
  • Front office (15 percent)
  • Coaching (20 percent)

The media has mostly raved about the 49ers' offseason thus far. The moves and players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft have garnered high grades from analysts. The pairing of new general manager John Lynch and new head coach Kyle Shanahan has been seen as successful and a foundation for the future of the franchise.

However, there are still a lot of things to prove and nothing is certain. While the franchise looks to be headed in the right direction, the 49ers didn't rank well within the ESPN NFL Future Power Rankings. The 49ers scored an overall score of 67.7, which was good enough for 30th within the ranking.

The team's highest score was earned for coaching, while its lowest, unsurprisingly, was for the quarterbacks. San Francisco ranked 16th for coaching, 19th for the draft, tied for 21st for the front office, 29th for quarterbacks, and 30th for the roster. While the roster ranked lowest, as mentioned, it was the quarterback category that actually scored lower.

In 2013, the 49ers ranked first in the annual ranking with a score of 87.5. Yates explained that lack of stability was the primary factor in the 49ers' placement within the current ranking. The team has hired three new head coaches in as many years and is transitioning to a new general manager.

"With John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan now in control, organizational harmony is atop the list of keys to success," writes Yates.

Riddick, the former 49ers general manager candidate, lists quarterback as the team's biggest concern. He views Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley only as good backups and does not see rookie C.J. Beathard as an NFL starter. He is not as critical of other positions on the team.

"I like how this team is being built, but QB remains a major concern," writes Riddick.

Sando also discusses the quarterback situation, saying that the 49ers have a realistic shot at drafting one of the highly regarded quarterbacks in the strong 2018 draft class. Until then, Hoyer and company will not help the 49ers' case to be listed higher in the ranking.

"Big QB changes are coming in the next year or so, however," Sando writes. "The outlook will improve."

There remains a possibility that the 49ers might acquire Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins in 2018 should he and his current team not come to an agreement on a long-term contract by July 17th. That would put Cousins on course to become a free agent in 2018.

If Cousins is not a possibility, the 49ers will have numerous options from a 2018 NFL Draft class that includes prospects like Sam Darnold of USC, Josh Rosen of UCLA, Josh Allen of Wyoming, and others.