Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports


Five 49ers players who could be candidates for their first Pro Bowl selection in 2022

Jun 30, 2022 at 3:08 PM--


The days surrounding July 4th are more often than not one of the slowest times of the year for NFL content, which makes it an opportune time to shamelessly borrow another site's good idea.

With that in mind, let's build off a feature that was published earlier today by NFL.com that selected one player from each team that could be in line for their first Pro Bowl appearance in 2022.

Feature writer Nick Shook selected running back Elijah Mitchell for the 49ers, pointing at the unexpected level of success Mitchell had in his first NFL season after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

"The 49ers enjoyed quality production from Mitchell as a rookie, with the former Louisiana star becoming San Francisco's bell-cow back and averaging close to five yards per carry," wrote Shook. "Add in the experience gained from 2021 to a Kyle Shanahan-led offense that can be counted on to maximize running back potential, and you have a player who should take the next step. If that comes in 2022 -- and if the 49ers replicate their success from last season -- Mitchell's name is going to become a popular one."

Mitchell is a solid choice, but he's far from the only player on the 49ers who could be in line for a Pro Bowl debut in 2022. And there may be more than one player who would make for a better choice. Here are five players (Mitchell included) who feel like they could be building towards a Pro Bowl selection in 2022.

1. QB Trey Lance - Lance obviously doesn't have a large body of work at the NFL level, nor do we know for sure how well he'll perform when he takes over the reins as the full-time starting quarterback for the 49ers. But he's got the weapons he needs to put up numbers (especially if/when things get patched up with Deebo Samuel), and his ability to make plays with his legs won't hurt his cause. Also, quarterback is often one of the easier positions to earn Pro Bowl consideration based on how often the players selected at that position pull out of the game. The ideal situation here, of course, would be for Lance to get selected but for him to have to pull out due to the 49ers still being alive in the postseason.

2. DL Arik Armstead - Armstead feels close to getting his first Pro Bowl nod. He was strong down the stretch last season and was chosen as an alternate but didn't get the chance to appear in the game. He took off last season after being moved inside, finishing with a career-high 63 tackles and six sacks. A full, healthy season in the same role could make his candidacy hard to ignore.

3. Mitchell - Mitchell set a franchise rushing record for a rookie in 2021 (963 yards), and he did it in just 11 games. He also hopes to improve himself as a pass-catching threat, which would also improve his chances at a spot in the Pro Bowl. The only questions around Mitchell's Pro Bowl chances are if he can stay healthy and if the carries will be spread around more in 2022. The 49ers haven't had much luck in recent years when it comes to running back injuries, but if that luck changes, there will be a full arsenal of players competing for carries with Mitchell in Trey Sermon, Jeff Wilson, and rookie Ty Davis-Price. Trey Lance will likely get his share of carries as well, although it's very possible there could be fewer carries for Deebo Samuel this season.

4. S Jimmie Ward - Like Armstead, Ward was a Pro Bowl alternate last season who missed out on getting the final call. After having an up-and-down start to his career while he dealt with injuries and position shifts, Ward settled in nicely at safety, has stayed relatively healthy in recent years and has grown into one of the defense's most important players. Sometimes it takes time for a player's visibility to grow to a Pro Bowl-type of attention level. Ward has waited long enough.

5. WR Brandon Aiyuk - After a strange start to the 2021 season, Aiyuk seems like a strong candidate for a breakout performance this year. The talent is certainly there, and the opportunities should come his way as well. Now that he has grown from the teaching moments Kyle Shanahan wanted him to have early last season, there might be little standing in the way of Aiyuk putting up a 1,000-yard performannce in 2022. Aiyuk finished with 56 catches for 826 yards and five touchdowns in 2021, and that was after putting up just 141 yards in his first six games.

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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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