Still reeling from an injury-ridden 2020 season, the San Francisco 49ers are back for their revenge tour that had to be put on hold. If you looked at their fall from 13-3 to 6-10, you’d think they’d lost some big key pieces in the previous off-season but it’s exactly the opposite. Now, the Niners have even more pieces to play with, many of which could see themselves on the NFC Pro Bowl roster come the end of the season.
Five Most Likely San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl Candidates
George Kittle has become one of the faces in the Kyle Shanahan era for the 49ers. The former fifth-round pick has demonstrated his elite catch-and-run skills over four years and heading into his next NFL season, the 27-year-old is the frontrunner for the NFC’s starting tight end at this year’s Pro Bowl.
Staying healthy will play a big part however. Kittle has only had one completely healthy season with the Niners (2018) with injuries to his knees and feet becoming a big hurdle for him to overcome. Kittle missed out on what might’ve been his third Pro Bowl in a row due to a broken bone in his foot and left the 49ers offense firmly and deeply in the mud.
If he can replicate his 2018 and 2019 form, then Kittle is definitely one of the most likely players from the 49ers to make the Pro Bowl this season.
Another player that suffered from injuries last season was Nick Bosa. Bosa’s ACL tear that he suffered in week two last season proved to be an sinister foreshadowing for the 49ers injury-filled season and he was sorely missed by a weakened 49ers defense which went from the eighth best in the league to the 17th best without him.
In his only full season with the 49ers, Bosa led the team in tackles for loss (16), quarterback hits (25) and was second in sacks (nine), just behind Arik Armstead (10). Also winning Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2019, as well as being selected for his first Pro Bowl, Bosa will want to stake his claim to return to the Pro Bowl whilst grabbing double-digit sacks for the first time in his career on the way.
Nick Bosa with the sack on Aaron Rodgers 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/wC7Asrufxl
— Barstool OSU (@BarstoolOSU) January 20, 2020
This season bodes as a comeback season not just for Bosa but for the 49ers roster as a whole and he’ll look to be one of the defensive leaders that steps up the most.
Kyle Juszczyk’s five recurring Pro Bowl visits is nothing to be laughed at. Having made the Pro Bowl every season he’s been with the 49ers, as well as one with the Baltimore Ravens, Juszczyk is the premier fullback in the NFL and with the voting system being a who’s-the-most-recognised-player-contest as much as actual ability, Juszczyk is the most well-known fullback across the league.
Having signed a five-year extension to play in the Bay Area for a couple more years, whichever quarterback Shanahan ends up using – be it Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance – will be more than willing to utilize Juszczyk’s unique skill set in terms of rushing and catching the ball out of the backfield.
The 30-year-old is one of the veterans of this Niners offense and has a great chance of making it to a sixth-straight Pro Bowl this season.
Signing a six-year, $138.06 million contract in March, a lot rides on Trent Williams’ shoulders. But he can deal with it. The six-foot-five, 320-lb offensive tackle became the highest paid offensive tackle in the NFL and is now certainly the biggest shoo-in for this year’s Pro Bowl on this list.
Already an eight-time Pro Bowler, Williams is one of, if not the best tackles the NFL has had in the past decade, and has already cemented himself into head coach Shanahan’s offensive schemes. His run-blocking prowess is a good omen for the likes of Trey Sermon and Raheem Mostert, who’ll lead the line for the 49ers in terms of the run-game, and was given a ProFootballFocus grade of 91.8 – the highest grade for an OT in the league.
Trent Williams: 91.9 PFF Grade in 2020 (1st)
Warning: Don’t get in his way ⚠️😳
— PFF (@PFF) June 16, 2021
Williams’ skillset is exactly what the Niners need with their new running back core coming into their first season together and the 32-year-old will be aiming to not just pave the way for his runners but also for his ninth Pro Bowl in his career so far.
Fred Warner has proved over the past three years to be a staple in the heart of this Niners defense and last season confirmed nothing had changed.
Leading the 49ers in tackles (125) by a massive margin, 39 ahead of Dre Greenlaw in second place, and team interceptions (two), Warner proved to be a major factor in multiple games last season for the 49ers defense, the one side of the ball that looked competent for the Niners towards the back-end of the year.
Making his first Pro Bowl last year as a reserve to Seattle Seahawks’ Bobby Wagner, Warner will play a big part in anchoring down head coach Shanahan and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans’ schemes and will look to improve on his statistically best season from last year and make it back to the Pro Bowl.
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