Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


49ers ranked No. 26 on ESPN’s list of most-improved NFL teams

Jul 22, 2020 at 5:54 AM--


The San Francisco 49ers are coming off a Super Bowl appearance and still have one of the best rosters in the NFL, so there wasn't too big a need for significant improvement. That's most of the reason why the Kyle Shanahan-led squad came in at No. 26 within ESPN's ranking of the NFL's most-improved teams.

The sports site lists wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, and offensive tackle Joe Staley as the 49ers' most significant offseason losses. It also notes, however, the players added to replace each.

San Francisco drafted defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk to replace Buckner, who was traded to the Indianapolis Colts, and Sanders, who signed with the New Orleans Saints. San Francisco traded for Trent Williams to replace the retired Staley, and probably improved the tackle position in the process.

"To be fair, it's not easy to significantly improve a team that went to the Super Bowl," wrote Kevin Seifert. "The 49ers did a good job finding replacements for all three of their key losses, however. If nothing else, they gave themselves an excellent chance to be as competitive in 2020 as they were in 2019."

The least improved team, according to ESPN? The Los Angeles Rams, who the 49ers swept last season. The Seattle Seahawks sit at No. 30. Watch out, though. The Kyler Murray-led Arizona Cardinals came in at No. 7.

The most improved NFL squad? That would be the Miami Dolphins.

"Keep in mind that this does not consider how good or bad a team actually is," ESPN points out, "but rather only how the roster changed since last season. Miami isn't likely to top many lists this season, but the improvement bests the rest of the pack."





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