The San Francisco 49ers were as big a disappointment as anybody in the league in 2020. Injuries devastated the team and sent the team plummeting to the bottom of the NFC West. The 49ers finished 6-10 after Nick Bosa tore his ACL, Jimmy Garoppolo was hobbled by an ankle sprain, and an endless list of starters missed significant time.
The one positive to the lost season is that it put the 49ers in position to find an impact player in the draft. However, instead of letting the draft come to them, GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were aggressive and traded up from the No. 12 pick to the No. 3 pick. They then spent that pick on North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance.
The team resigned a ton of its own talent, but the move up to draft Lance is what will define this offseason and the franchise’s near future.
San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl 56 odds: +1400
Although the team moved up to draft Lance, it is entirely possible he sits a good chunk of his rookie season. If Garoppolo can stay healthy, there’s a decent chance he retains his starting role. Lance has more upside in the eyes of Lynch and Shanahan, but the 49ers have made it very clear they’re comfortable being patient with him. He could end up starting if Garoppolo gets hurt, but if not, he could follow the Patrick Mahomes route — sitting most of his rookie year and then moving into the starting role in his second year.
All of that is to say, any assessment of the 49ers Super Bowl chances has to consider who is starting at QB. Lance has tremendous potential, but he’s a mystery both because he’s a rookie and because he only played in one game last year during the pandemic. Garoppolo is no sure thing to stay healthy, but if he does, he has proven he can do enough with this offense to help get the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
The key across the board will be health. If Bosa returns to form and the team can avoid the volume of injuries from last year, they are a Super Bowl contender with this roster. If Garoppolo can avoid too many mistakes, he’s got a solid offensive line and a ton of weapons in the passing game. If Bosa can get back and they find some talent in the secondary, the 49ers 6th ranked defense last year turns into potentially one of the two or three best defenses in the league.
There are plenty of questions on both sides of the roster, but the 49ers are a Super Bowl contending team if they can stay healthy.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA/MI), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA) or call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN). 21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.