Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Drafting Trey Lance, potentially healthier 2021 boost 49ers in SI power rankings

May 5, 2021 at 2:28 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers sat at No. 13 on Sports Illustrated's post-Super Bowl power rankings. That's not bad for a team that finished the 2020 season last in its division and earned just six wins. However, the Niners endured an injury-plagued campaign, losing many of their stars as they limped through the season. It wasn't how the team envisioned their Super Bowl revenge tour going.

Many felt that a 6-10 record wasn't indicative of the team's overall talent. Much of that talent, though, had been sidelined. That's why they ranked in the top half of that February power ranking despite finishing with a losing record.

Sports Illustrated published its first joint-effort power ranking since that last one, this time factoring in teams' most recent draft classes. It is based on the votes from eight contributors, including Albert Breer and Andrew Brandt. The addition of Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick helped San Francisco jump six spots to No. 7 within the ranking.

"No team improved its stock in our rankings more than the 49ers," wrote the SI staff. "Whether that's due to an expected bounce back with better injury luck, or a raised ceiling if Trey Lance takes over for Jimmy Garoppolo in the second half of the season, there are reasons to be confident."

Some interesting tidbits: One voter listed the 49ers as the second-best ranked team. What was their lowest ranking? Two voters listed them at No. 11.

Only one NFC West team was ranked higher. The Los Angeles Rams came in at No. 4. A seemingly impressive group of receivers helped with that placement. The Seattle Seahawks were ranked at No. 10, and the Arizona Cardinals at No. 23.

The placement of the NFC West teams differs from Dan Hanzus' recent post-draft power ranking for He had both the Rams and Seahawks ranked above the 49ers, at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. San Francisco came in at No. 9 while the Cardinals sat at No. 16.

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