Four 49ers Labeled ‘Best Players in the NFL Right Now’

Fred Warner

Getty LB Fred Warner #54 of the 49ers ranks No. 20 of PFF's Top 50 Best NFL Players right now.

For the most part, the 2021 San Francisco 49ers are getting a lot of respect from Pro Football Focus.

In their latest ranking, “The 50 best players in the NFL right now,” four members of the 49ers landed on the list.

The first being tight end George Kittle at No. 9, followed by linebacker Fred Warner at No. 20, offensive tackle Trent Williams at No. 24, and defensive end Nick Bosa at No. 27.

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What PFF Had to Say About the Niners

Here’s what PFF had to say for each:

The 49ers lost Kittle to an ankle injury last season but he said he’s “close to feeling 100%” ahead of training camp.

No. 9 TE George Kittle

Injuries limited Kittle to just 443 snaps in 2020, but he posted the highest single-season PFF grade we have ever seen from a tight end (94.4 overall) the season before that.

PFF has captured the entirety of Rob Gronkowski’s Hall of Fame career, but Kittle bettered every single season of Gronk’s storied career on a play-by-play basis last year, according to that grading. He is one of the most dynamic receivers in the game, but like Gronk, he can also be an impact player as a run-blocker, which differentiates him from most tight ends in the league.

Warner ended his third season in San Francisco giving up an average of 4.4 yards per target and opposing QBs had just a 69.7 average rating when throwing his way.

20. LB Fred Warner

Fred Warner was the No. 1-graded linebacker in the NFL last season and topped the PFF list of the top 25 players under 25 thanks to his elite playmaking ability in coverage. Warner played the college “overhang” linebacker role at BYU, a kind of hybrid linebacker/slot corner, and has been a huge success in translating that experience into conventional NFL defenses, becoming one of the most complete linebackers around and anchoring that 49ers defense.

The Niners made NFL history this offseason signing Williams to a six-year contract extension worth $138 million along with a $55.1 million and a $30.1 million signing bonus.

At 32-years-old, Williams still has plenty of juice left in him and PFF couldn’t agree more.

24. OT Trent Williams 

No offensive lineman could match the blocking highlight reel that Williams crafted in 2020. The veteran tackle was one of the most dominant run-blockers we have ever seen, earning a 91.8 PFF grade in that facet of play; he routinely buried his assigned defender to spring big runs for the 49ers’ backs and only allowed 19 total pressures in his first year back after missing the 2019 season.

Bosa’s absence was missed last season after his second NFL campaign was cut short by an ACL tear and the Niners ended the year with a 6-10 record. He was also missed at the Niners OTAs this past month.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan gave a promising update on Bosa’s progress and he should be ready to go for training camp which kicks off at the end of July.

No. 27 DE Joey Bosa

It’s hard to believe that we’ve only seen the rookie version of Nick Bosa, and he was still dominant enough to rank this high on a list of the best players in the NFL. The former Ohio State Buckeye was one of the best pass-rushing prospects of the PFF College era, and he was good enough to break the PFF record for most pressures generated by a rookie with 80 — and he looked better and better as the playoffs wore on. Bosa came away with 12 total pressures in Super Bowl LIV.

Of course, if Bosa never got hurt, he could have landed much higher on the list.


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