After finishing last year with a 6-10 record, the San Francisco 49ers have bolstered their roster with blossoming new talent. They are now one of the most dangerous teams in the NFC and will create quite a few problems for opponents next season. Head coach Kyle Shanahan will have this team make some serious noise in the 2018 postseason.
Garoppolo set to Ignite the Offense
Of course, when talking about the 49ers, everything starts with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The team traded for Tom Brady's backup late last season and gave him a massive contract this spring. Garoppolo went a perfect 5-0 as a starter with the Niners last year, which no doubtedly has many fans excited for what a full year with him under center will look like.
Now that Garoppolo has spent a full offseason with Shanahan, he'll likely be even better in 2018. The situation between Garoppolo and his head coach is similar to the one between Jared Goff and Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams: a young, offensive minded genius gets a weapon at quarterback and the team takes off. I think the 49ers will be as successful as the Rams were in transforming into a winning team last year.
Free Agent Additions
Obviously the biggest addition to the 49ers this offseason was star cornerback Richard Sherman, who inked a three-year deal with the team. Sherman is the key to revitalizing a poor Niners secondary that has been one of the least talented in the NFL. The team also signed former Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon to a four-year deal. McKinnon is a dual threat running back with the ability to shake defenders and break big plays in open space.
Rounding out their free agent class is center Weston Richburg. Between Richburg and McKinnon, it's clear that the 49ers wanted to boost their offense in preparation for Garoppolo's full-time takeover in 2018. Any free agent class that produces three starters is a great success in the NFL, but the Sherman signing is still the crown jewel and may even be the best signing in the entire league this offseason.
Drafting Promising Talent
With their first-round pick, the 49ers took Mike McGlinchey, a monstrous right tackle from Notre Dame. He'll get the chance to play across from six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley. If the athletic McGlinchey lives up to the faith the team has put in him, he and Staley could be the best tackle duo in the league. Next, they bolstered their thin receiving corps with Dante Pettis in the second round.
From then on, the rest of the draft was focused on rebuilding the defense. Linebacker Fred Warner, who was taken in the third round, is an especially promising player. The 49ers may have also found a bargain in undrafted free agent cornerback Tarvarus McFadden. McFadden was once one of the best cornerbacks in college football and despite some agility limits, he may emerge as a key role player for the team.
With strong free agent and rookie classes, the 49ers are setting themselves up for success in 2018. Garoppolo will see his first full season as a starter and he'll do it with a completely revamped offense. The defense will also sport some key new faces, like Sherman and Warner. The more you look at the 49ers, the harder it becomes to not recognize their playoff potential.