Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports



ESPN released a complete breakdown of predictions and projections for the upcoming 2017 NFL season. Writer and network analyst Mike Clay gathered together a list of predictions and where NFL teams fell within the categories.

Despite the San Francisco 49ers adding a head coach who many consider to be one of the most brilliant offensive minds in the NFL, it should be no surprise that the team is not listed among the highest scoring. The 49ers are at the onset of a complete rebuild. It is one that will reshape the franchise in the image that head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch envision.

The 49ers are predicted to be among the three lowest scoring teams in 2017, according to Clay. "The 49ers' patchwork offense is composed primarily of replacement-level players behind Carlos Hyde and Pierre Garçon," he wrote.

The 49ers' revamped roster bears very little resemblance to last season's 2-14 team. A majority of the roster is comprised of players who were not with the team in 2016. The 49ers' roster is also made up of 14 rookies, which is over a quarter of the team's 53-man roster. 28 of those 53 players have three years of NFL experience or less.

RELATED 2017 49ers roster breakdown at Saturday cut-down deadline

The 49ers will open the 2017 season at Levi's Stadium on Sunday afternoon against the Carolina Panthers. They have a number of opponents on their schedule that will test Shanahan's creativity on offense and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's new defensive scheme. The ESPN feature believes the 49ers will have one of the toughest schedules in the league based on team projections.

"The rebuilding 49ers will have their hands full with a schedule that includes four games against Seattle and Arizona and four more against the NFC East," wrote Clay. "Unique games against Carolina and Chicago aren't as much of a walk in the park as you'd expect for a last-place team."

As for the future of the 49ers, the team is expected to go after a franchise quarterback in 2018. Shanahan and Lynch came aboard with the second overall selection in the NFL Draft. Other than fourth-round selection Joe Williams being placed on injured reserve, each of the team's selections made the 53-man roster.

When it comes to draft placement, Clay predicts the 49ers to be in a similar position in 2018 and, once again, head into the draft with the second overall selection. While that scenario would mean another poor season for the 49ers, it would put them in position to acquire another cornerstone for the rebuilding team – perhaps that important franchise quarterback should rookie C.J. Beathard not emerge as a surprise candidate.

"New head coach Kyle Shanahan won't be able to work a miracle overnight, especially against a tough schedule," Clay writes as his explanation for the predicted draft position.