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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Six 49ers landed on ESPN’s All-Pro roster

Jan 1, 2024 at 8:01 AM--

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The official All-Pro roster has yet to be announced, but ESPN's Bill Barnwell kicked off the New Year by unveiling his own All-Pro team, selecting who he deems to be the best players at each position. Four San Francisco 49ers players have earned a spot on his first-team roster.

Barnwell based his lineup on 11 personnel, incorporating three wide receivers and omitting a fullback (sorry, Kyle Juszczyk). He also categorized edge rushers as a distinct group, separate from linebackers and defensive ends.

While Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, the frontrunner for the MVP, claimed the first-team quarterback spot, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy secured a place on the second team.

Below are the 49ers players who made Barnwell's first-team roster:

RB Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey was the clear choice at running back. McCaffrey has been a standout performer this season, leading the league with 2,023 scrimmage yards and 1,459 rushing yards.

"The most dramatic number for McCaffrey comes from his ability to generate first downs," wrote Barnwell. "He has moved the chains 114 times this season. No other back has picked up more than 71 first downs through 16 games. Only 10 backs have racked up more first downs in a season since the turn of the century, and just two have done so since 2010."

McCaffrey's durability throughout the season has added to his value, somewhat alleviating concerns about his heavy workload throughout his 2023 campaign.

TE George Kittle

George Kittle is undoubtedly the most valuable tight end this season. He exceeded 1,000 receiving yards for the third time in his career. But that only paints part of the picture of what makes Kittle crucial to the 49ers offense. The tight end is an efficient blocker, earning a career-high Pro Football Focus run-blocking grade (78.9) this season.

"Kittle has done that while accruing 90 targets," wrote Barnwell. While I give some credence to players who are able to command huge target shares, he has been remarkably efficient when Brock Purdy looks his way. He is averaging 11.3 yards per target. No other tight end is within 3 yards of Kittle's figure, and the only receiver who has averaged more yards per target this season is Aiyuk, Kittle's teammate."

LT Trent Williams

Trent Williams remains one of the league's premier offensive linemen and has proven to be a dominant force anchoring the left side of the 49ers' offensive front.

"Williams ranks No. 1 in pass block win rate, and if you want to see his impact on the 49ers offense, just take a look at what happened when an ankle injury caused him to miss those two games in midseason," wrote Barnwell. "A 49ers offense that has averaged 30.5 points per game with him in the lineup scored 17 points in back-to-back losses to the Vikings and Bengals."

LB Fred Warner

Fred Warner has solidified his position as one of the game's best defenders, consistently in the conversation for the NFL's top linebacker. He has surpassed 100 tackles in each of his six NFL seasons and is on track to set a career-high in that statistical category.

Warner's overall Pro Football Focus grade of 90.4 and run-defense grade of 90.8 are career highs.

"Warner doesn't need to fill up the stat sheet to make a difference, but he's having a career year," wrote Barnwell. "He has intercepted four passes, which is a career-high. He has added 2.5 sacks and five knockdowns as a pass-rusher, along with six tackles for loss. Alongside Dre Greenlaw, Warner is part of the league's best one-two punch at linebacker."

Second-Team Players

I already mentioned Purdy as a part of Barnwell's second-team All-Pro roster. The quarterback has thrown for more yards (4,280) than any other player in 49ers history, becoming only the third player in franchise history to surpass the 4,000-yard mark (Jeff Garcia, Steve Young).

Another 49ers player made the cut, too—wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. He has recorded back-to-back seasons surpassing 1,000 receiving yards and is averaging a league-high 18.3 yards per reception. Aiyuk's 91.9 Pro Football Focus grade is a career-high, as is his 1,317 receiving yards.

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