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49ers own 2 best-in-NFL position groups, per PFF

May 13, 2024 at 9:42 AM


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Pro Football Focus senior analyst John Kosko recently scrutinized every NFL team, pinpointing which roster possesses the best group at each position. Kosko also singled out the worst position groups in the league, and fortunately for the San Francisco 49ers, they were not represented in any of those categories.

The 49ers were spotlighted by two position groups on the list, with Kosko asserting that the Bay Area team boasts the best tight end and linebacker groups in the NFL.

One might wonder if the team's wide receiver group, consisting of Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Jauan Jennings, and now rookie Ricky Pearsall, made the list. However, that honor went to the Chicago Bears, whose wideouts include DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, and rookie Rome Odunze.

Regarding the tight end position, San Francisco securing the top spot in the league is attributed to one player.

"The 49ers earn the 'strongest' title because George Kittle is arguably the best tight end in the NFL right now," Kosko wrote. "Travis Kelce is almost 35 years old and still productive, but we saw a decline in his play in 2023. Kittle's 87.7 grade last year was tops in the NFL as he excelled as a receiver and a run blocker. While Kittle will turn 31 in 2024, he's still playing at an extremely high level."

The 49ers have sought to fortify their tight end group by looking to add dependable depth behind the All-Pro tight end. Kittle has played at least 89 percent of the offensive snaps in each of the last three seasons.

The team attempted to sign restricted free agent tight end Brock Wright, but their offer sheet was matched by the Detroit Lions, foiling their attempt to provide Kittle some support.

Kosko also contends that the 49ers boast the best linebacker group in the NFL.

"The New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens have arguments for the strongest linebacker group, but Fred Warner's star power and Dre Greenlaw's consistency push the 49ers ahead," Kosko explained. "Warner has emerged as the best linebacker in the NFL over the past few years, as his 90.2 overall grade in 2023 attests to. Greenlaw complements Warner with a strong run defense and coverage skills."

Greenlaw might not be ready for the start of the 2024 season as he continues to recover from the torn Achilles he sustained during the Super Bowl. Nevertheless, Kosko's rankings are based on the analytics exiting the 2023 season, and given their recent play, it's hard to argue that another team's linebacker duo tops the one in Santa Clara.

Kosko concludes, "The 49ers' linebacker unit boasts an 89.7 overall grade over the past two years, showing the consistency of the two players roaming the middle of the field."
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