San Francisco 49ers: 5 Players With the Most to Prove in 2014

5 San Francisco 49ers With Most to Prove This Year

San Francisco 49ers Offense
Kyle Terada - USA Today Sports

As the 2014 season draws near we take a look at the top five players who must prove themselves for the San Francisco 49ers.

5. Daniel Kilgore

Daniel Kilgore San Francisco 49ers
Mark J Rebilas - USA Today Sports

5. Daniel Kilgore

Daniel Kilgore San Francisco 49ers
Mark J Rebilas - USA Today Sports

During his first three seasons Kilgore has played sparingly in the 49ers jumbo packages. With the 49ers deciding not to resign Jonathan Goodwin, the door has finally opened for the fifth round draft pick from 2011 to move into the starting lineup. The 49ers spent a third round pick in the 2014 draft on Marcus Martin who will push for the starting assignment and could send Kilgore back to the bench if he doesn't prove himself quickly.

4. Vance McDonald

Vance McDonald San Francisco 49ers
Kelly L Cox - USA Today Sports

4. Vance McDonald

Vance McDonald San Francisco 49ers
Kelly L Cox - USA Today Sports

The 2013 second round draft pick ended his rookie campaign with only 9 receptions for 132 yards. McDonald's drop on a deep ball in the 4th quarter against Carolina may have cost the 49ers a chance to win the game. Players often see a big leap in performance during their second season, and that needs to be the case for McDonald in his sophomore campaign.

3. Chris Culliver

Chris Culliver San Francisco 49ers
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

3. Chris Culliver

Chris Culliver San Francisco 49ers
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

The last time 49er fans saw Culliver he was being thrashed all over the field in Super Bowl XLVII. Culliver missed all of the 2013 season after tearing his ACL early in training camp. Culliver must prove that he is once again healthy, and that he has improved his ability to turn and find the ball when defending deep throws.

2. Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith San Francisco 49ers
Brad Mills - USA Today Sports

2. Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith San Francisco 49ers
Brad Mills - USA Today Sports

This has nothing to do with Smith's performance on the field and everything to do with his performance off. Smith has been unable to go a full calendar year since joining the 49ers without having an incident with the law. This offseason the 49ers picked up Smith's fifth-year option for 2015, but that is only guaranteed against injury meaning he could be released if he has another run in with the law.

1. Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick San Francisco 49ers
Kyle Terada - USA Today Sports

1. Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick San Francisco 49ers
Kyle Terada - USA Today Sports

With a new contract that could pay him an average of twice the next highest paid player on the 49ers roster and ranks second among NFL Quarterbacks, Kaepernick has plenty to prove in 2014. Don't just take that from me though, because that new contract which the 49ers can get out of each season says it as well.


Around the Web