The 49ers Drop to No. 3 in SI's Latest NFL Power Ranking

Which teams are ahead of them?
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; Florida Gators wide receiver Ricky Pearsall is selected as the No.
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; Florida Gators wide receiver Ricky Pearsall is selected as the No. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers didn't get worse this offseason, but they didn't get better either, which means they back slid relative to their competition.

Last year, the 49ers were the best team in the NFC and nearly the best team in the NFL. This year, they rank third in Connor Orr's power ranking behind the Chiefs and the Lions.

"The Lions had an issue with their secondary heading into the draft, then hammered the position like a piece of old drywall," writes Orr. "Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw Jr. are both rangy, physical cornerbacks who can parse through complicated offensive sets with bunched wide receivers. While the learning curve for a defensive back is steep in the NFL, we’ve also seen some pleasant surprises. Even if Detroit hits on 50% of its cornerback haul, the team has become all the more dangerous. "

So the Lions have improved. Here's what Orr has to say about the 49ers: "When Kyle Shanahan drafts a wide receiver, we should take note. This is no different than when Andy Reid takes a quarterback, or the Eagles take an offensive lineman (for the most part). Shanahan is clearly not infallible, but Ricky Pearsall gives me some strong Cooper Kupp vibes and I think he can help diversify San Francisco’s offense, which Shanahan has desperately needed to do."

Pearsall might turn out to be the next Cooper Kupp, but unless the 49ers trade Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel or Jauan Jennings this offseason, Pearsall probably won't get many targets as a rookie. The 49ers struggle to get their weapons enough targets as is. So he probably will diversify the offense in the future, which explains why the 49ers have fallen behind the Lions in the present.


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Grant Cohn

GRANT COHN