San Francisco 49ers: 5 Players Critical To The Team’s Success in 2014

San Francisco 49ers: 5 Players Critical To The Team's Success in 2014

Patrick Willis Navorro Bowman
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers will begin the chase for their elusive sixth championship in 2014, and will need everything to break right to reach a fourth consecutive NFC Championship game, let alone the Super Bowl. Which players will be most vital to the team's success next season?

5. Tramaine Brock

Tramaine Brock
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

5. Tramaine Brock

Tramaine Brock
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Brock may be a surprise name on this list, but he is the only sure thing the 49ers have at cornerback. As of right now, Chris Culliver is the other starter, but he has legal issues on top of missing all of 2013 with a knee injury. A rookie (or two) will be added to this mix to compete with Eric Wright, Chris Cook and Perrish Cox for playing time. Brock will have to be steady in 2014.

4. Vernon Davis

Vernon Davis
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

4. Vernon Davis

Vernon Davis
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The impact Vernon Davis has from week to week does not always show up on the stat sheet, but the San Francisco offense would not be the same without him. In the two games he either didn't play in or left early to injury last year, the team scored a total of 16 points. Defenses must account for him at all times and he opens up opportunities for other receivers. Davis is also an excellent blocker.

3. Patrick Willis

Patrick Willis
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

3. Patrick Willis

Patrick Willis
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

With all of the talent the 49ers have in the front seven, it's difficult to pinpoint one person most crucial to the team's success, but Willis might be that player in 2014. The absence of NaVorro Bowman for at least half of the season will put more of the load on Willis, as he will most likely be playing beside someone with limited experience starting at inside linebacker.

2. Frank Gore

Frank Gore
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

2. Frank Gore

Frank Gore
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

When the 49ers were struggling to score points in Weeks 2-3 of 2013, they reevaluated their offensive philosophy and went back to the power running game. The result was a five-game winning streak in which Frank Gore carried the load. Gore will be 31 in 2014 and could be in his last season. The 49ers have to hope that he has one more year left in the tank as the other options do not have experience carrying a full-time load in the NFL.

1. Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

1. Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The obvious choice for No. 1, Colin Kaepernick will be looked upon to ascend to franchise quarterback status. He played well towards the end of last season, but struggled in Week 2-10. Kaepernick will need to put together a consistent 16-game campaign and show that he is the quarterback who can lead the 49ers for the next decade.


Around the Web