Which 49ers ranked in NFL Wire top 101 players?

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While quarterback play will largely define the 49ers’ season, there’s enough talent on their roster that they can make a deep playoff run even without stellar QB play. They had four players rank in the top 60 of the NFL Wire’s list of the 101 best players in the NFL.

Getting good, full seasons from their stars at the top of the roster is going to be vital for San Francisco after injuries derailed a number of players’ seasons in 2020.

Here are the four 49ers and where they landed on the top 101 list from the NFL Wire’s Doug Farrar and Mark Schofield:

DE Nick Bosa, No. 56

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Bosa tore his ACL in Week 2 last season and effectively stymied any chance the 49ers' defense had of being an elite unit. Now he's set to return for training camp and is on track for a Week 1 debut where he'll need to spearhead an improved pass rush that'll drive a potential San Francisco championship run. Here's Touchdown Wire on Bosa:

San Francisco’s defense was waylaid by injuries in 2020, and the torn ACL that limited Bosa to just 68 snaps in his second NFL season was perhaps the most damaging of all. Bosa ranked second on our list of edge defenders after his rookie campaign, which is unusual — generally speaking, rookie pass-rushers have to come to terms with their relatively limited array of technique, as well as the quality of NFL blockers.

LB Fred Warner, No. 38

(AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

It was clear from Day 1 that Warner was going to be able to play in the NFL. His ascension to one of the best players in the league has been remarkable though. He was No. 2 on the NFL Wire's list of the top 15 linebackers after his First-Team All-Pro nod last season. While the pass rush is the focal point of the 49ers' defense, Warner's presence in the middle of that unit is perhaps the biggest key to its success. Here's Touchdown Wire on Warner:

The 49ers are probably thankful for that slide, as Warner is becoming the perfect modern linebacker. His blend of athleticism, coverage skills, ability to pressure the passer and improvement against the run makes him one of the best in the game today.

TE George Kittle, No. 28

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries limited Kittle to just eight games last year, but he still had enough time to show why he's one of the game's best tight ends. He posted 48 catches for 634 yards and two touchdowns while battling injuries. His blocking is why he ranked No. 1 on the NFL Wire list of the top 15 TEs though. That element of his game sets him apart, and the Touchdown Wire case for Kittle at No. 28 is a series of clips displaying his versatility as a receiver and blocker. There may be better pass-catching TEs and better blocking TEs, but nobody in the game does both as well as Kittle.

OT Trent Williams, No. 18

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers' trade for Williams could go down as a move that catalyzes an offensive explosion in 2021. The ripple effect of acquiring the now eight-time Pro Bowler for a pair of mid-round picks after Joe Staley retired allowed them to make a big trade up for Trey Lance and at the same time ensure they had one of the game's best left tackles protecting their quarterback's blind side for the foreseeable future. Combine that with his dominance in the run game and its hard to find a more important offensive player for San Francisco. Here's Touchdown Wire on Williams:

Williams allowed three sacks in his first four games back in action, but gave up just one after that, along with three quarterback hits and nine quarterback hurries from Week 5 on. Williams has been a superlative pass-protector for years, but what sets him apart is his movement skills and commitment to demolition in the open field.

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