by Brian Del Grande
The San Francisco 49ers have gained millions of fans over the years, not only in the Bay Area, but across the nation as well. The team won four Super Bowl championship titles in the 1980s and was later named the team of the decade. Hall of Fame players Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Steve Young made a serious impact on the game during this time and the 49ers hope to return to the former glory they once had under former head coach Bill Walsh.
In the present day, the 49ers are struggling in their new state of the art Levi Stadium built last season. In 2014, the 49ers just barely prevented a losing season and scraped by with an unimpressive 8-8 record missing the playoffs and finished in third place in the NFC Western division. The team hopes to improve on last season and make the playoffs for a shot at the Super Bowl championship, which they have not won since their fifth win in 1995.
General Manager Trent Baalke plans on fixing the problems the 49ers seem to have in their roster during this upcoming NFL draft.
The 49ers are lacking a swing tackle and an interior lineman on their offensive line. The team lost a key player and left guard, Mike Lupati in free agency, but there are other players who can take his place. La'el Collins and Brandon Scherff are both great draft options to advance the offense. Collins and Scherff have the ability to play tackle, which would fulfill the need for a swing tackle and interior guard.
On the defensive side of the ball for the 49ers, Arik Armstead from the University of Oregon is a popular draft pick among fans. Many are wondering how much of an impact he can make as a rookie in the NFL.
In 2014 the 49ers picked Jimmie Ward as their first-round pick and he became an integral part of the team last season. He struggled and battled injury but still contributed to the team as a designated slot corner.
Justin Smith might be retiring and Darnell Dockett is aging so there are gaps to fill on the 49er’s defense.
Most of the 49er faithful is curious on what the plan is for quarterback Colin Kaepernick this fall. He is set to run more and utilize his receivers to throw to, especially standout star Vernon Davis, “You guys are in for a treat,” tight end Davis told reporters on Friday. “He looks like a totally different guy.”
The 2015 NFL season schedule has officially been released and the 49ers have no easy task this fall. They will face their three division rivals, the St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals, twice. Both the Cardinals and Seahawks finished higher than the 49ers in 2014 and Seattle has been in back-to-back Super Bowl’s winning two seasons ago. The 49ers also are set to face other difficult opponents, like the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens.
It is up to the 49ers and new head coach Jim Tomsula to find a winning formula to get back into the playoffs and hopefully take back the first place possession of the NFC Western Division. This sounds like it will be another exciting season of 49er football.