Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports


49ers climb NFL.com power rankings following draft, still sit behind two NFC West teams

May 4, 2021 at 1:48 PM--


Power rankings in May don't mean a lot, especially when you throw in figuring out how an unproven crop of rookies will impact a team's future success.

"The NFL draft and the Power Rankings don't mix," wrote NFL.com contributor Dan Hanzus.

That didn't stop him from trying. Hanzus released his latest power rankings, his first since a post-free-agency version in March, and has the San Francisco 49ers jumping up three spots to No. 9.

The Niners' draft features the No. 3 overall pick, Trey Lance of North Dakota State. The team also added two offensive linemen in Aaron Banks and Jaylon Moore, two running backs in Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell, and three defensive backs in Ambry Thomas, Deommodore Lenoir, and Talanoa Hufanga.

There was a lot of speculation surrounding that top selection, with most feeling that the less-of-a-fan-favorite Mac Jones of Alabama was Bay Area-bound. It ended up being Lance all along after a month of secrecy out of Santa Clara.

"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," wrote Hanzus. "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."

That "clunker" resulted from an injury-plagued season that had altered the depth chart by Week 2. San Francisco somehow managed to keep most of its talented roster together, hoping to show that 2020's six-win campaign, not 2019's Super Bowl run, was the aberration.

Two NFL West teams, the Los Angeles Rams at No. 7 and Seattle Seahawks at No. 8, rank ahead of the 49ers in Hanzus' power ranking. The Arizona Cardinals come in at No. 16.





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