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Draft, D-line upgrades provide a boost for 49ers in ESPN power rankings

May 13, 2024 at 8:41 AM

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Following free agency, the San Francisco 49ers found themselves ranked third in ESPN's power rankings, trailing only the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions. ESPN released its latest power rankings, factoring in the actions of each team during the 2024 NFL Draft. The Lions dropped two spots to No. 4, allowing the 49ers to reclaim the No. 2 slot, still behind the reigning Super Bowl champions.

The Baltimore Ravens, previously ranked fourth, now trail San Francisco at the No. 3 spot.

ESPN asked its panel of NFL writers to identify each team's most improved position since the 2023 season, and Nick Wagoner highlighted defensive end for the 49ers.

"In 2023, the 49ers traded for Randy Gregory and Chase Young in an effort to finally find a complement to Nick Bosa," Wagoner wrote. "It didn't work, and ends not named Bosa managed a combined 11 sacks and 49 pressures."

The Niners addressed their inconsistent pass rush with a defensive line revamp, allowing Arik Armstead to depart while bolstering the edges of their defensive front.

Wagoner continued, "San Francisco made addressing that a priority in free agency, signing veteran Leonard Floyd (who has had at least nine sacks in each of the past four seasons) and promising youngster Yetur Gross-Matos, whom the Niners envision playing multiple spots on the line."

San Francisco is hopeful that their offseason spending will position them for another Super Bowl run. While the team focused on the defensive side of the ball in free agency, the draft brought in two wide receivers, including first-round pick Ricky Pearsall, a speedy running back in Isaac Guerendo, and two offensive linemen.

Fans will discover the dates and times for the 49ers' 17-game schedule when the full NFL schedule is released on Wednesday night.

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