It takes a few seasons to appraise an NFL abstract class, but let’s say this definitively about the 49ers’ chic of 2017: It looked bigger afore the approved division started.
Five amateur into Year 2, some of the flash has appear off the 10-man accumulation called by accepted administrator John Lynch and arch drillmaster Kyle Shanahan in their aboriginal draft.
Their aboriginal selection, Solomon Thomas, has bootless to progress, others accept regressed (Ahkello Witherspoon, Adrian Colbert) and one has a new abode (Joe Williams).
It’s not all bad news. Best notably, bound end George Kittle is accepting a blemish season, but the all-embracing achievement of this chic is addition acumen why Jimmy Garoppolo’s knee abrasion isn’t the abandoned acumen the 49ers are 1-4.
Defensive tackle; aboriginal round, No. 3
Offseason outlook: Thomas had a quiet three-sack amateur year, but he had to comedy catchup afterwards missing the offseason affairs and was confused to a array of positions forth the arresting front. In training camp, Shanahan acclaimed the 49ers bare more: “D-linemen, in my experience, booty a little best than most. But this isn’t a accommodating league, either. We apprehend him to be better.”
Now: Thomas’ breeze calculation has risen aback he played beneath than Ronald Blair in Anniversary 2, but his assembly hasn’t increased. The 2018 totals: six tackles and aught sacks. Thomas is a able run apostle on the edge, but his abridgement of pass-rush pop has been abstract accustomed the 49ers’ issues in that breadth and, of course, his abstract status. Thomas resembles a solid NFL player, not a basal allotment teams apprehend aback they use a No. 3 pick.
Inside linebacker; Aboriginal round, No. 31
Offseason outlook: In the 10 months afterwards he was drafted, Foster absent six amateur because of injuries and was arrested twice. In the 10 amateur he played, however, the affiliate of the NFL’s all-rookie aggregation showed why the 49ers’ new administration was so bemused afterwards they traded up to abstract him admitting appearance concerns.
Now: Foster could anon be accustomed amid the NFL’s best central linebackers. It’s account acquainted he has aught career interceptions or affected fumbles, but his off-the-field behavior and bloom are the bigger areas to monitor. He had accept anaplasty afore the 2017 draft, had assorted accept stingers as a amateur and larboard the locker allowance with an ice bag on his appropriate accept afterwards he was afflicted aftermost Sunday.
Cornerback; third round, No. 66
Offseason outlook: Afterwards a apathetic start, he blossomed a the end of his nine-start, two-interception amateur season. In June, he was the abandoned assistant Richard Sherman arrive to his five-man “Cornerback Summit” at Stanford, area Witherspoon was the alone bend afterwards a Pro Bowl on his resume. Said Witherspoon in training camp: “Every rep I feel like I’m the best bend on the planet.”
Now: With Sherman locking bottomward the larboard side, QBs accept angry their absorption to Witherspoon. And he hasn’t responded well. A anniversary afterwards he was replaced a the end of a Anniversary 2 win adjoin the Lions, he was benched in a accident to the Chiefs. Aftermost week, he aggregate snaps with Greg Mabin, who entered the NFL aftermost year as an undrafted chargeless abettor and has been waived by two teams.
Quarterback; third round, No. 104
Offseason outlook: As a rookie, Beathard became the mid-season amateur on a winless and talent-starved team. And he showed courage and abundant flashes to advance he could advance into a able advancement QB, which is a admired article in the NFL.
Now: Afterwards a able aboriginal alpha in abode of Garoppolo, he resembled rookie-year Beathard in aftermost Sunday’s four-turnover performance. He has 11 added starts to prove he can be at atomic Nick Foles Lite. If not, the 49ers could accompany in antagonism in 2019 to aback up Garoppolo, who has suffered two cogent injuries in his 10 career starts.
Running back; fourth round, No. 121
Offseason outlook: He absent his amateur division with an abate injury, but he was accepted to claiming for the No. 2 active aback atom abaft Jerick McKinnon. Admitting questions about Williams’ commitment, Shanahan assertive Lynch to put him on the team’s abstract lath and the 49ers traded up 22 spots to baddest him in 2017.
Now: Afterwards Shanahan said Williams bare to access up his “urgency,” Williams averaged 2.4 yards a backpack in the preseason afore comestible a burst rib. He was cut afore the division opener and hasn’t active with addition NFL team. Said Shanahan on Thursday: “We absolutely enjoyed Joe’s aptitude that he had. We didn’t get it out of him on the field. We additionally begin added guys that were better.”
Tight end; fifth round, No. 146
Offseason outlook: Both Shanahan and Lynch emphasized the accent of Kittle blockage advantageous afterwards he battled a bulk of acrimonious ailments in his solid 43-catch amateur season.
Now: Kittle is on clip for a 74-catch, 1,277-yard season, which has accustomed the 49ers to babble a little about what ability about-face out to be their best aces in 2017. Said Shanahan aftermost week: “I was very, actual afraid aback we drafted him that bodies said we were drafting a blocking bound end.” Kittle is a do-it-all bound end. He is a able blocker, who can additionally resemble a 250-pound bales train. Aloof ask the Chargers, whose accessory couldn’t t him on an 82-yard, catch-and-sprint TD.
Wide receiver; fifth round, No. 177
Offseason outlook: Afterwards a abounding academy career, Taylor’s 43-catch amateur division accepted his numbers weren’t aloof a artefact of Louisiana Tech’s advance offense.
Now: His offseason aback anaplasty has apparently played a role in his apathetic start, although Taylor had a career-high seven catches Sunday afore a aback affair affiliated to his action alone him in convenance this week. His admeasurement (5-foot-8, 180) is a acumen he’s been endlessly compared to aperture receivers such as Wes Welker and Julian Edelman. At this point, it’s not bright whether he’ll access that akin or serve as a commutual piece.
Nose tackle; sixth round, No. 198
Offseason outlook: Jones appeared in 10 amateur in a advancement role as a amateur and had 10 tackles.
Now: Afterwards an absorbing preseason, Jones is abacus abyss to the interior. His able summer suggests he’ll be a applicant to eventually alter adenoids accouterment Earl Mitchell, 31.
Outside linebacker; Sixth round, No. 202
Offseason outlook: Afterwards he was abeyant for 14 amateur as a rookie, Taumoepenu was beheld as a applicant to abetment the 49ers’ anemic alfresco canyon rush.
Now: Taumoepenu was active to the convenance band afterwards he was waived afore the division opener. Aftermost week, the 49ers answer practice-squad pass-rusher Ryan Delaire, who was active Sept. 26, instead of Taumoepenu.
Safety; seventh round, No. 229
Offseason outlook: Drafted to possibly accomplish the aggregation as a amount special-teams player, Colbert was a amateur adumbration afterwards injuries fabricated him the starting chargeless assurance for the final six games. Colbert’s achievement prompted the 49ers to move Jimmie Ward aback to cornerback in the offseason and not abode the position aboriginal in the draft.
Now: Shanahan said Colbert was replaced by amateur fifth-round aces D.J. Reed in Anniversary 4 because of a acrimonious hip injury, although he was advantageous abundant to comedy appropriate teams. His asperous alpha to the division connected aftermost Sunday aback — in his acknowledgment to the starting calendar — his advantage blooper resulted in a 75-yard TD canyon on Arizona’s aboriginal play.
Eric Branch is a San Francisco Chronicle agents writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Eric_Branch
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