The San Francisco 49ers return home from their two week road trip with an imposing 41-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. San Francisco managed to hold Cincinnati’s offense to just 316 total yards, while Jimmy Garoppolo and Co. put up 41 points and 572 yards in the Week 2 victory. Take a look at six of San Francisco’s top performers, courtesy of Jeff Deeney of Pro Football Focus, as well as the 49ers snap counts from Sunday’s contest.
1. Kwon Alexander – 91.5 overall grade
Alexander led the team with the highest overall grade on Sunday. San Francisco’s linebacker was excellent in coverage in his first full game as a member of the 49ers. Alexander registered an interception, two pass breakups, six tackles and allowed only three catches on six targets for 19 yards for a 17.4 passer rating allowed. Alexander’s Week 2 outing earned him a spot on PFF’s Team of the Week.
2. Ronald Blair III – 90.7 overall grade
Blair earned the second-highest overall grade on the day, totaling a sack and two quarterback hurries through 23 pass-rushing snaps. He also notched three run stops in his 11 snaps versus the run and was part in limiting the Bengals ground game to just 25 total yards. Blair was also named to PFF’s “Team of the Week” following Sunday’s performance.
3. George Kittle – 87.3 overall grade.
San Francisco’s tight end earned the team’s top grade on offense for the second-straight week. Kittle caught all three of his targets on Sunday for 54 yards. Of his 54 yards, 34 came after the catch (11.3 average after the catch). He also excelled in run blocking and did not allow a single quarterback pressure in his six pass blocking snaps.
4. Raheem Mostert – 85.6 overall grade
Mostert registered his first career touchdown reception on a 39-yard pass from Garoppolo, the longest of his career. The running back totaled three catches for 68 yards while also adding 13 carries for 83 yards on the ground for a career-high 151 scrimmage yards. An impressive 60 of Mostert’s 83 rushing yards came after contact as he averaged 6.4 yards per carry. On his 16 touches against the Bengals (13 rushing, three receiving) seven resulted in either a first down or a score. Mostert is averaging 4.5 yards per carry after contact through the first two weeks of the season and was also the third 49er named to the “Team of the Week.”
t5. Matt Breida – 85.4 overall grade
Breida registered 12 carries for 121 yards (10.08 average) in Cincinnati, his fourth career game with 100 or more rushing yards. Of his 121 yards on the ground, 80 came after contact. Breida also registered five carries of 10 yards or more on the day. Mostert and Breida earned the top two overall grades in Week 2 among qualifying NFL running backs.
t5. DeForest Buckner – 85.4 overall grade
Buckner recorded his first sack of the season against Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. The defensive lineman also recorded a quarterback hit as well as three hurries.
The San Francisco 49ers’ brass needs to be asking itself a simple question now that multiple star players at need positions have requested trades.
“Can we get someone in the 2020 NFL Draft that’s better than said player?”
This question is more prevalent now that Jacksonville Jaguars Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to break the news Monday evening. He followed that up with another report suggesting that the 24-year-old Ramsey will likely be traded at some point this week.
A first-round pick of the Jaguars back in 2016, Ramsey just got into a sideline spat with head coach Doug Marrone during the team’s loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday. It’s the latest in a long line of issues the former top-five pick has had with his team.
Eligible for an extension this past offseason for the first time, nothing came to fruition on that end. Ramsey made waves by reporting to training camp in a Brinks Truck. This is a clear indication that he wants to get paid big time.
For good reason. Ramsey has been among the best cover guys in the NFL since entering the league, earning a Pro Bowl appearance in each of the past two seasons. He’s coming off a Week 2 performance in which the Florida State product held all-everything Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins to less than three yards per target.
The question here is whether the 49ers would be interested in a player that has proven to be divisive in the past. Ramsey’s personality is well known. It has clashed with those within the Jaguars’ organization a ton in the past. It’s certainly something general manager John Lynch and Co. will look into.
Then again, the 49ers did what they could to trade for boisterous former New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. prior to him being dealt to the Cleveland Browns during the spring. San Francisco does not seem to have an issue adding players of Ramsey’s ilk to its locker room. That’s the first point we must make when determining whether he’s a fit.
On the field, it’s rather obvious that San Francisco would have interest in Ramsey. The team has done everything possible to upgrade its cornerback position. That included signing Pro Bowler Richard Sherman away from the Seattle Seahawks prior to last season and taking a chance on former Chargers Pro Bowler Jason Verrett this past offseason.
It goes without saying that Ramsey would act as a dramatic upgrade over Ahkello Witherspoon opposite Sherman at cornerback. Sure the third-year player has been tremendous thus far this season, but he’s no Jalen Ramsey.
Over the long term, adding someone of Ramsey’s ilk to the mix would be a tremendous way to eventually replace Sherman as the veteran either transitions from cornerback to safety or calls it quits on his career.
Having Ramsey on the roster would not be a major detriment when it comes to Witherspoon or Sherman. Both would welcome him with open arms. In fact, an argument could be made that one could move to the slot corner position. That has been an issue in San Francisco over the past several seasons.
There’s also some strong familiarity here. Ramsey’s rookie season included current 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh acting as the Jaguars’ linebackers coach. He took that defensive scheme with him to Northern California. It’s the type of in your face secondary play that has defined Ramsey’s career thus far.
We do, however, have other factors to look at here. The Jaguars are reportedly asking teams for at least one first-round pick in return for Ramsey. San Francisco is somewhat handcuffed in that it traded away a second-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for Pro Bowl pass rusher Dee Ford last April. Would the 49ers go ahead and deal away their top-two picks in next year’s draft? That’s an open question.
What we do know is that Ramsey is more proven and more talented than any top-end cornerback San Francisco could envision adding in the 2020 NFL Draft. At just 24 years old, he’s a long-term solution.
That’s something the 49ers’ brass has sought in trades since Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch took over. It started with the trade for Jimmy Garoppolo during the 2017 season and culminated in the Ford acquisition this past March. In between, San Francisco flirted with adding the above-mentioned Odell Beckham Jr. to the mix.
Realistically, any move to acquire Ramsey would have to include the 49ers working out a long-term deal with the Pro Bowler. Based on the market dynamic, this would include Ramsey getting north of $15 million annually on a long-term deal with a good $50-plus million in guarantees.
San Francisco is not cap restrictive in that it could afford to bring on that salary on defense. It has north of $20 million to spend under the cap this season alone. The team also hasn’t committed a whole bunch of cash to the secondary moving forward. That’s a big key when determining whether Ramsey to the 49ers is a viable option.
At 2-0 on the season, San Francisco is in position to make waves in the NFC Playoff race. It has no intention of picking anywhere near the top 10 come April. That should alter the team’s thinking when it comes to exhausting a first-round pick for a veteran of Ramsey’s ilk.
At the very least, San Francisco’s brass has to be on the phone with the Jaguars to see if it cane make a move for Ramsey. A player of this ilk does not hit the market too often. It’s time for Mr. Lynch and Co. to pounce.