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Amid all of the controversy surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, it is important to remember that the team played a game on Friday night. Sure, it was a somewhat meaningless preseason loss, but there were other things going on out there other than a National Anthem protest. You know, like the actual football game on the field.
Earlier today, advanced statistics site Pro Football Focus took a look at the game and reported the top graded players for each team. We'll spare you the Green Bay Packers talk and jump right into the 49ers that they identified.
Below, you can find the top five graded players on offense and defense. It is interesting to notes that on the offensive side of the ball, four of the top five graded players were offensive lineman. While good for the offensive line, which was one of the worst in the league last season, Jon Abbott of Pro Football Focus also points out that it doesn't say much for the team's skill positions.
Below are the top five graded 49ers players on offense during Friday's game.
TE Blake Bell, 74.5
T John Theus, 74.5
T Trent Brown, 72.5
C Marcus Martin, 71.1
T Erik Pears, 70.9
Yes. You read that correctly. Martin and Pears' names are indeed on the list.
How did the 49ers quarterbacks do? Blaine Gabbert graded at 49.4 while Colin Kaepernick surprisingly graded higher at 60. Gabbert was part of the team's only touchdown drive of the night, but Abbott points out that the actual score was a lateral to WR Quinton Patton, so it didn't factor much into his overall grade.
"Kaepernick struggled to find a rhythm in this game, and was again plagued by poor pocket presence," said Abbott. "He looked to scramble on third-and-long multiple times instead of looking to find a receiver."
While the quarterback play was poor, Abbott points out that the receivers weren't doing them any favors. "Six of nine 49ers wide receivers finished with below-average grades, as they struggled to get open all night," he says.
Below are the top five graded 49ers players on defense during Friday's game.
LB Shayne Skov, 84.5
ED Aaron Lynch, 81.7
ED Corey Lemonier, 79.9
LB Gerald Hodges, 79.5
LB Michael Wilhoite, 78.0
* ED stands for "edge defender" or outside linebacker
"Shayne Skov had four run stops and Gerald Hodges added two," said Abbott. "Edge rushers Aaron Lynch and Corey Lemonier finished with the top two pass-rush grades in this game, with Lemonier generating three hurries on only seven rushes."
That's great news since the pass rush was a weakness for the defense last season. Of course, the team will be without Lynch for the first four games of the regular season.