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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Is the 2022 49ers offense better than the 2021 offense?

Rohan Chakravarthi
May 18, 2022 at 11:45 AM--

With the NFL Draft finished, every team essentially has their roster full as they approach their respective offseason programs, with a few late-offseason additions like the signing of James Bradberry to the Eagles this morning.

The San Francisco 49ers had many concerns heading in to the offseason and addressed them via free agency and the draft, leaving them with another deep roster once again. But, top to bottom, is the current team better than the 2021 49ers?

Quarterbacks: Same

Last year, after the selection of Trey Lance with the third overall pick, the 49ers had a deep quarterback room as Lance slotted in as a premier backup during his rookie campaign behind incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo, who was the named the starter after training camp and the preseason.

This year, the 49ers have the same two players headlining the position, with Nate Sudfeld, who received a one-year, $2 million guaranteed contract, slotting in as a backup.

If the 49ers keep Garoppolo on the roster, the position group is even better with significant depth.

If the 49ers don't keep Garoppolo on the roster (as expected), the backup position does get worse, but the intrigue and potential of Lance as the starter raises the level of quarterback play, making the overall group similar in talent in 2022.

Running Backs: Better

Last year, the 49ers were decimated at the running back position, losing Raheem Mostert for the entire season and Jeff Wilson Jr. for half of the season, which eventually forced Deebo Samuel into a more extensive running-back role, as he ended the season with 59 carries for 365 yards.

This season, the 49ers return a healthy Elijah Mitchell, who was limited to just ten games last season, and a healthy Jeff Willson Jr., while also adding Ty Davis-Price via the draft in the third-round.

The overall depth of the current group is better, while the top-end talent remains similar, making this group better in 2022.

Wide Receivers: Better

Last season, the 49ers had good frontline starters at the receiver position, but lacked depth, which is why special-teamers Trent Sherfield and Travis Benjamin saw the field for 305 offensive snaps.

This season, the 49ers made several moves to improve the depth at the position, adding Ray-Ray McCloud, a kick returner who has the ability to contribute offensively, and Danny Gray, a pure deep-threat whose 4.33 40-yard speed was showcased at rookie minicamp last weekend.

Additionally, the 49ers have an open competition for their sixth wide receiver spot, an indication of the depth built up in the wide receiver corps.

Brandon Aiyuk didn't really get going until Week 7 of last season, as 730 of his 826 receiving yards were gained in Weeks 7-18. Additionally, Jauan Jennings was only featured in the offense over the second half of the season, where he flourished in a limited receiving role, catching four touchdowns in that period.

Both players should get the opportunity to get acclimated from the jump in 2022, especially with a more prolific thrower in Trey Lance at quarterback.

Gradual development from the wide receivers, along with the additional depth at the position points to a better receiver room heading into the 2022 season.

Tight Ends: Same

The 49ers did virtually nothing at the position, electing to pass on a number of available tight ends in free agency, and forgoing the options presented in the draft, meaning that they'll continue forward with their current group as of now.

There was a possibility that undrafted free agent Garrett Walston could have caused some chatter by pushing for a roster spot in training camp, but the UNC product was waived earlier this week in favor of veteran tight end Troy Fumagalli, who has served primarily as a blocking tight end during his time in the NFL.

Currently, the 49ers will continue with George Kittle, Charlie Woerner, and Ross Dwelley at the position, so there isn't any meaningful change in talent ahead of the 2022 season.

Offensive Line: Worse

The 49ers faced perhaps the worst ramifications of free agency, albeit expected, at the offensive line position this offseason, losing fringe Pro-Bowl guard Laken Tomlinson to the New York Jets.

Additionally, there's still uncertainty at the center position with the still-unknown nature of Alex Mack's possible retirement, and right tackle Mike McGlinchey is coming off a torn quadriceps tendon injury.

San Francisco improved the depth along the line, adding a plethora of offensive linemen in the draft and undrafted free agency, but still currently lack the top-tier talent that they had with Tomlinson a year ago, which is why this group got worse this offseason.

Now, could likely starter Aaron Banks produce like Laken Tomlinson this season? Potentially. But currently, Banks is unproven at the NFL level, making it hard to arrive at a definite conclusion.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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