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Kaepernick Freefalls In PFS Top 25 Rankings

Mitchell Blahut
While final cuts won't be made for another month, the best players are already standing out on the team.   | Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The 2016 season is upon us and the 49ers are currently trying to figure out their final roster. Who starts? Who sits? Who will be under center for the season as the team tries to rebound from their disappointing 2015 campaign?

While final cuts won't be made for another month, the best players are already standing out on the team.  

  1. Joe Staley: Staley is the best player on the team thus far and will continue to be so. He was the bright spot for the offense last year and has been since Day One.
  2. NaVorro Bowman: Expect Bowman to play much better as he gets better adjusted to being back on the field and almost fully healed from that ugly knee injury. There's no way he can play worse in pass coverage than he did last year, which is also the reason why I put him at number two instead of number one. However, I give credit to him for coming back as an all-pro and pro bowler.
  3. Jimmie Ward: He is the most versatile and, in my opinion, the best defensive back on the team. You can call me biased all you want. I don't care.
  4. Carlos Hyde: He could have been higher had he not gotten injured early on in the season. I definitely expect him to have a big year in Kelly's system, but if he can't stay healthy than he won't be any higher on this list.
  5. Ian Williams: Somebody who never gets enough credit, but it was somewhat hard for me to put him this high on the list with his string of injuries. Hopefully, his luck will change and he will end up with the payday that eluded him after his ankle surgery.
  6. Aaron Lynch: I still have him this high because of how important he is to the defense. Hopefully, we don't have another Aldon Smith situation arising.
  7. Arik Armstead: I expect him to get the start over Dial, considering he has his former college head coach with him and will be having a bigger involvement on the team next season.
  8. Quinton Dial: He had a solid year last season, however I can only see him having a steady 2016 season from last year.
  9. Antoine Bethea: I'm not moving him because of how much the defense missed his involvement on the defensive side of the ball and he will continue to be a great veteran and mentor to players like Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt. 
  10. Eric Reid: I still have him in the top ten based on the fact that he will be much better than he was last season. I don't expect him to be back in a pro bowl, but I do expect him to get an interception for the first time since the 2014 season.
  11. Torrey Smith: I can only expect Smith to play much better than he did in his worst performing season in his career, especially with a brand new offense for him.
  12. Joshua Garnett: As much as I hear that this first rounder will not play well in a zone-blocking scheme, I still believe that he will impress on the offensive line and will be a serious catalyst for the team as they continue to rebuild. He will be a step up from Brandon Thomas and will definitely fill the void left by Mike Lupati.
  13. DeForest Buckner: I have high expectations moving forward as all of the previous seventh overall picks since 1994 for the 49ers have gone on to become pro bowlers (Bryant Young, Andre Carter, and Aldon Smith).
  14. Jaquiski Tartt: I think he will be another strong young player that will help the team rebuild moving forward, and possibly take over as the starter in the future. I am predicting that by 2017 he will be starting in the secondary with his former high school teammate, Jimmie Ward.
  15. Daniel Kilgore: He was injured most of last season leaving us to deal with Marcus Martin. So because of that he goes down two spots.
  16. Bruce Miller: I'm giving him a serious jump in the rankings because of how much he will be utilized in the offense. Chip Kelly is going to fall in love with this defensive end turned fullback turned tight end/h-back.
  17. Phil Dawson: The old man still has some game left in him. Plus, he's one of two players left that played in the 1990's (the other being Adam Vinatieri).
  18. Blaine Gabbert: I move him up because of his strong eight starts. It may not be that impressive when you look at the numbers, but when you look at what he did with Jacksonville and the current quarterbacks situation, he definitely had a good season in comparison.
  19. Tramaine Brock: He goes down because of that Giants game where he couldn't finish off the opposing Giants with a game clinching interception that would have given the 49ers a win. Yes, I'm that upset with him.
  20. Zane Beadles: A solid free agent that should help out at the guard position and allow the team to move the sticks more effectively. I don't expect him to be better than Alex Boone, but he will do just fine for the team as far as the guard position is concerned.
  21. Ahmad Brooks: I have him dropping to this because of how much he's dropped in his productivity and because the 49ers are already planning on moving on without him in the future. Don't be surprised if he's no longer on the team by the end of the preseason.
  22. Bruce Ellington: I expect big things from the former Gamecock because of the versatility he brings. He's an excellent deep threat and should give the team a boost in the return game.
  23. Dontae Johnson: Should be a solid player at the nickel back position, and should show his underrated value throughout the season.
  24. Garrett Celek: Should have some extensive production that he will bring this season. I expect Chip Kelly to use him the same way Chip used Garrett's brother, Brent in Philly.
  25. Colin Kaepernick: Not expecting him to be the starter unless called upon later in the year. We trusted you Kaepernick. You were the chosen one.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Quinton Patton: Had a solid year for himself, but I don't see him having the same type of impact as some of the other receivers on the team.
  • Trent Brown: He was a good substitute at the right tackle position over Erik Pears.
  • Anthony Davis: He recently filled out his reinstatement, but he's still a year removed from football and will be looking to reclaim his starting job back.

What do you think of the rankings? Were there any names you felt were too high or too low? Let us know in the comment section. 

Mitchell Blahut covers the San Francisco 49ers for Pro Football Spot. Follow him on Twitter @mablahut21!

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