5. FS Jimmie Ward
A lot of fans didn’t like it when the 49ers re-signed FS Jimmie Ward to a one-year extension in the spring, but now it’s looking like the 49ers should have made it a multi-year extension. Previous to this season, Ward was considered a bust by many, and that’s in large part due to his long injury history. Well, this season he’s been healthy and has been playing well enough to get a Pro Bowl alternative nod. Ward put up 65 tackles and had 8 pass deflections in 13 games. Ward is set to be a Unrestricted Free Agent this spring, and re-signing him will likely be a top priority for John Lynch and company.
4. WR Deebo Samuel
As a second round pick heading into the season, Samuel had some pretty high expectations from 49ers fans, and he’s delivered. Samuel has been looking like the team’s WR1 for years to come, which is a big reason why the 49ers won the NFC West and got the 1st seed in the NFC. Samuel got off to a slow start to start off the season, but his Week 10 performance against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football is where things started to turn upwards. Samuel put up 802 yards receiving on 57 catches, along with 159 rushing yards, and totaled 6 scrimmage TD’s. Great rookie season.
3. CB Emmanuel Moseley
After CB Ahkello Witherspoon went down with a foot injury Week 3 against the Steelers, CB Emmanuel Moseley stepped in and started numerous games. Not only did Moseley step in and play, but he played extremely well. As a UDFA coming out of the 2018 draft, Moseley spent time on the 49ers Practice Squad last season, and got called up for one game then was placed on IR. This preseason, he earned a roster spot, which eventually led to a starting gig. On the season, Moseley has 43 tackles, 1 interception, and 8 pass deflections. Moseley looks like to be another late-round/undrafted gem found by John Lynch and company.
2. HB Raheem Mostert
Mostert bounced around the league early on in his career, but he has clearly found a home in San Francisco. On the season, Mostert has 772 rushing yards, 205 receiving yards, and 11 total touchdowns. Mostert started separating himself from the rest of the RB’s Week 13 at Baltimore, where he posted a career high 146 rushing yards. Coming into the season, Mostert was expected to be the team’s third HB on depth chart behind Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. To be far, it looked that would be the case until Week 13, but Mostert just took-off and hasn’t looked back. Mostert continuing this hot streak into the playoffs will help San Francisco a bunch.
1. DE Arik Armstead
Similar to Jimmie Ward, many fans considered Armstead a bust. But also like Ward, Armstead had gone through a lot of injuries. Finally healthy, Armstead is having a career year, posting 10 sacks (7 more than last year), 54 tackles (6 more than last year), and 2 forced fumbles (only had one more in his career which was recorded in 2016). Armstead was considered the team’s 4th best defensive lineman heading into the season, but now is very possible that he is the team’s best. Armstead has been great at both getting to QB and stuffing the run. Armstead is scheduled to be an unrestricted FA this spring, and it should be interesting to see how the whole situation plays out. Armstead’s emerge has arguably been the x-factor this season.
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