It’s hard to argue against the San Francisco 49ers as having both the most stacked roster, best coaching and astute front office in the league. They’re at least in the conversation on all three counts. In related news, they’re among Super Bowl favorites for the second consecutive year as the current regime enters its third campaign.
I know everyone and their grandparents is building their own Mt. Rushmore-type quartet for every franchise in sports this offseason, but I’m going to a pull twist on it I haven’t seen yet: only accomplishments over the past couple years will apply, in the effort create the most relevant set of four mountain-side faces as possible. So I’m crafting the 49ers’ Mt. Rushmore to beat all 49ers Mt. Rushmores: Whose face makes it in stone?
Colin Kaepernick: Kaepernick helped this offense escape the conservative grasp of Alex Smith and took San Fran from punishing to electric on offense.
“I think about it all the time, believe me,” Hue Jackson, the rookie Raiders coach in 2011, told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King. “No question in my mind we wanted it to happen, and no question I thought it could happen. We wanted the kid in the worst way.”
Patrick Willis: An elder statesmen on relatively young but elite defense, Willis could very well go down as the best inside linebacker of all time when his career concludes — many years down the road.
Trent Baalke: Baalke rose up the 49ers organization to claim the role of general manager prior to the 2011 level draft and has worked magic ever since.
Jim Harbaugh: The most sought-after coach during the 2011 offseason, Harbaugh already cemented himself among the league’s top head coaches after just two season, two NFC title berths and a near-Super Bowl victory.