San Francisco 49ers
Last season’s record: 11-4-1
Key player released: K David Akers
Key free agents lost: TE Delanie Walker, DT Isaac Sopoaga, S Dashon Goldson, DT Ricky Jean Francois, WR Ted Ginn
Key free agents added: DT Glenn Dorsey, S Craig Dahl, K Phil Dawson, CB Nnamdi Asomugha, G Adam Snyder, LB Dan Skuta, TE Cameron Morrah, WR Marlon Moore
Key player traded: QB Alex Smith
Key trade additions: WR Anquan Boldin, QB Colt McCoy
Rd. 1 (No. 18 overall)… Eric Reid, S, Louisiana State
2 (40)… Cornellius (Tank) Carradine, DE, Florida State
2 (55)… Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
3 (88)… Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
4 (128)… Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
4 (131)… Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
5 (157)… Quinton Dial, DE, Alabama
6 (180)… Nick Moody, LB, Florida State
7 (237)… B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida
7 (246)… Carter Bykowski, T, Iowa State
7 (252)… Marcus Cooper, CB, Rutgers
Analysis: Perhaps the only offseason development standing in the way of the 49ers being an overwhelming Super Bowl favorite is the torn Achilles’ tendon suffered by wide receiver Michael Crabtree during an organized team activity in May. The injury might not necessarily be season-ending for Crabtree. But it will cost the 49ers their top returning wideout for at least a significant portion of the season.
Otherwise, it appeared that the defending NFC champions only got stronger. The trade with the Baltimore Ravens that sent wide receiver Anquan Boldin to San Francisco was designed to give the 49ers a superb complement to Crabtree. Until Crabtree returns, the deal instead gives the 49ers a capable replacement.
The 49ers traded their former starter at quarterback, Alex Smith, to the Kansas City Chiefs. There wasn’t going to be a quarterback controversy in San Francisco, anyway, not after Colin Kaepernick became a star after taking over for Smith and got the 49ers to the Super Bowl and oh-so-close to winning it. But Smith’s exit removes even the shred of a possibility that there could be the smallest hint of unrest about the team’s quarterback situation, inside or outside the organization, if Kaepernick struggles at some point. This is Kaepernick’s team now, and the key will be for him to continue to grow as a quarterback and to adjust to whatever the league does next to adjust to him after the dynamic season that he just had.
The signing of Nnamdi Asomugha gives the 49ers a cornerback who once was regarded as perhaps the league’s best, in his days in Oakland before his star dimmed during his stay in Philadelphia. If Asomugha recaptures the form from his Raiders days, the 49ers could be even stronger on defense. They added another potential playmaker in the secondary by using the draft’s 18th overall choice on Louisiana State safety Eric Reid.
The 49ers stockpiled picks and ended up making four of the draft’s first 88 selections. It seemed almost unfair for a Super Bowl team to be able to make such an infusion of young talent. The pieces are all in place, it seems, for a Super Bowl title. Now the 49ers must deliver on their considerable promise.
Why Redskins fans should care: The teams play Nov. 25 at FedEx Field, a Monday night clash.
Conversation starter: Are the 49ers the favorite to win the Super Bowl?
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.
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