NFL.com gives 49ers’ 2018 rookie class a ‘B’ grade

Sounds about right.

With the offseason in full swing, all sorts of analyses on the San Francisco 49ers roster will be firing out. From the free agents to the rookies, there’s a lot to dissect from their 2018 season. NFL.com did their assessments of NFL rookies and gave the 49ers a ‘B’ grade. Writer Jeremy Bergman was put in charge of the NFC West and had this to say when he came to the 49ers:

John Lynch’s second draft in San Francisco was a solid sophomore effort. McGlinchey immediately slid into San Francisco’s starting lineup, led the offense in snaps and made the PFWA All-Rookie Team. An impressive run-blocker, McGlinchey is still vulnerable as a pass-protector, but San Francisco has both of its tackle positions solved. Warner led the defense in snaps and tackles (123) and held down as best he could a linebacking corps that lost Reuben Foster midseason. The injury-prone Pettis remains unrefined but dangerous in the receiving game. He did not show his touted return capabilities in his rookie campaign — unlike James, who was a consistent threat on kick returns. Wilson was a nice find who filled in and surprised down the stretch.

Combine/free agency focus: Fix the secondary. Veteran signee Richard Sherman could only do so much. The combination of Jaquiski Tartt, Jimmie Ward, Antone Exum and Adrian Colbert made 49ers fans long for the days of Eric Reid. Luckily for San Francisco, the safety market should be plush with veteran options, like Landon Collins, Tyrann Mathieu and Sherman’s old Seahawks teammate, Earl Thomas. With the No. 2 overall pick, San Francisco will have its pick of trenchmen. An edge rusher to complement DeForest Buckner is expected here, so Lynch and Kyle Shanahan can spend the combine evaluating the pros and cons of Nick Bosa, Rashan Gary and Josh Allen.

For comparison, the Arizona Cardinals did a bit better with a ‘B+’ grade, Seattle Seahawks got a generous ‘B-’ grade and the Los Angeles Rams got slapped with a ‘D-’ grade.

If only the 49ers didn’t flub their first two picks in 2017, this could be back-to-back solid production from their rookie classes. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on if Solomon Thomas can be a long-term solution and Reuben Foster’s personal issues lead to him getting released after a season and a half. Both of them were taken in the first round and their current situations are less than ideal. Adrian Colbert left for injured reserve early in 2018 and Ahkello Witherspoon was a shadow of himself as well—which makes 2017’s class take another hit.

The 49ers have overhauled their roster since John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan took over and 2018 might be a special draft class. 2017 got them George Kittle and that already did enough, but D.J. Jones is also set to take over the nose tackle spot from recently released Earl Mitchell. Don’t forget the 49ers found both Matt Breida and Nick Mullens as undrafted free agents. Also don’t forget about Trent Taylor who was held back in 2018 from his back surgery. 2017 might not be an earth-shattering rookie class, but they managed to find several pieces to build the team they want, which is a heck of a lot better than what prior drafts have netted the 49ers.

The 2018 class has been productive on all fronts. First, second, and third round picks all have grown into possible starters. Aside from Kentavius Street who was sidelined with his knee injury and Jullian Taylor who spent most of his season on the sidelines developing, the 2018 class contributed on the field, on game day in some way shape or form. The big question for the running backs is what the three-headed beast will be with Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. Either direction, the 49ers will have Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida along with one of those two aforementioned names. That would be one 3rd round pick (McKinnon) and two UDFAs (Breida, Mostert, and Wilson) helming the 49ers backfield.

Sky’s the limit with this class. The 49ers might just need a few more pieces and the 2018 class just needs a bit more experience and maybe things can get turned around.

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