At the close of the 2019 season, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan aimed to keep their Super Bowl roster as intact as financially feasible. The San Francisco 49ers managed to retain a number of key players which allowed the team flexibility when heading into the draft this past April.
Despite the offseason losses, the 49ers still managed to fill any presumed holes on the roster. The 49ers locked up two of their biggest free agents with long-term deals (Arik Armstead and Jimmie Ward) and retained a key rotational piece of their defensive line with the re-signing of Ronald Blair III.
Recently, NFL host and journalist Rich Eisen made a case on why the 49ers had the best offseason in the NFL with their ability to retain key players and the majority of their coaching staff, while opting to find younger, viable replacements through trades and the draft.
NFL.com columnist Adam Schein appears to agree with the 49ers roster makeup. Schein comprised a list of his most “complete” teams in the league heading into the 2020 season with the 49ers landing near the top of the league at the No. 2 spot, trailing only the Baltimore Ravens.
So what defines a “complete” team? Talent? Depth? Starters?
Schein noted his list is not a power ranking. Instead, his rankings are defined by teams having “all necessary parts” heading into the season.
49ers Key Departures: T Joe Staley, DL DeForest Buckner, WR Emmanuel Sanders, RB Matt Breida
Here’s what Schein had to say about the 49ers roster:
The Niners still boast the game’s best defensive line. First-round pick Javon Kinlaw replaces Buckner. And I loved the decision to prioritize the resigning of Arik Armstead. The former first-rounder rarely receives the credit he deserves, but he really came into his own last season with 10 sacks. Nick Bosa has never lacked for praise, and rightfully so — the 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year is already a bona fide game wrecker. And what a luxury it is to have Dee Ford as a designated speed rusher. Elsewhere, Fred Warner is emerging as a prototype linebacker for the modern NFL, while Richard Sherman‘s an ageless wonder at cornerback.
On the other side of the football, the 49ers have the best tight end in football. George Kittle is an absolute force as a receiver and blocker. Speaking of blockers, Trent Williams slides right into Staley’s spot on the blind side — and he’s my pick for Comeback Player of the Year. First-round pick Brandon Aiyuk is a brilliant replacement for Emmanuel Sanders; he’ll nicely complement playmaking stud Deebo Samuel, who should be able to come back from last month’s broken foot pretty early in the season. Jimmy Garoppolo remains polarizing, but I don’t know how you can view him as anything worse than solid after last season’s performance. And he’s obviously helped by San Francisco’s potent run game. Raheem Mostert‘s trade request is concerning, yes, but are you really going to bet against Shanahan forging a productive ground attack one way or another.
As for the rest of Schein’s list, the reigning Super Bowl Champion-Kansas City Chiefs trail the 49ers with the third-most complete roster, followed by the New Orleans Saints (4), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5), Buffalo Bills (6), Dallas Cowboys (7), Cleveland Browns (8) and Indianapolis Colts (9).