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49ers George Kittle rated best player in the NFL: report

You may think the 2019 NFL season faded away after the final play of LIV.

You would be wrong. Pro Football Focus, (Motto: “It isn’t over until we say it’s over”), has just checked in with it’s list of the top 101 players of the 2019 season and the 49ers are cleaning up.

Using it’s space-age, patent-pending formula — “an ‘all positions are created equal’ mantra that bases each player’s ranking relative to what is expected from their position” — PFF placed six 49ers on the list. Only the Eagles and Saints, with seven, had more.

So as to heighten the drama, we highlight the six 49ers in reverse order:

82. DeForest Buckner. The defensive lineman, coming off a Pro Bowl season, started all 16 regular season games, collecting 7.5 sacks, causing three fumbles and recovering four. From PFF: “He notched his third consecutive season with PFF grades of 80.0 or higher in 2019. Buckner, who was voted team MVP by his coaches, has recorded 50 quarterback hits since entering the league, ranking 10th among all defenders over that span, according to PFF.”

54. Jimmie Ward: The six-year defensive back had 46 solo tackles, two off his career high. He also defensed eight passes and recovered a fumble despite not seeing the field until Week 5. From PFF: “Ward topped an 80.0 overall PFF grade for the first time in his career this season while spending the majority of his time as a free safety.”

30. Arik Armstead. The five-year defensive lineman was a load in 2019, recording 10 sacks, 54 combined tackles, 24 tackles for loss and 18 quarterback hits. From PFF: “Armstead ended the season with the fourth-best overall PFF grade of 89.8. Armstead is set to become a free agent this offseason, however the defensive lineman revealed that he is not averse to a franchise tag in order to keep San Francisco’s revered pass rush intact. ‘I’m from Northern California. I’ve been here my whole career. I would love to be here and continue my career here,’ Armstead said.”

28. Nick Bosa. The Defensive Rookie of the Year was a turnover machine with an interception, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. And he did a dandy belly slide during the game in Washington.

From PFF: “San Francisco’s No. 2 overall pick finished the season with the most total pressures ever recorded by a first-year pass rusher in PFF history (2006-present). In the playoffs he added an additional 22 pressures over three contests. According to PFF, Bosa recorded an absurd 12 total pressures and a pass-rush win rate over 30 percent in Super Bowl LIV.”

13. Richard Sherman. Ho-hum, another superlative season for the nine-year corner out Stanford. He set the standard for the 49ers defense in the season opener when he returned an interception for a 31-yard touchdown. From PFF: “Sherman was back to playing his best football just two years removed from an Achilles injury. He earned PFF’s Best Coverage Defender Award in 2019, allowing a passer rating of just 45.3 over the entire season, including his postseason performances. Sherman surrendered just 227 receiving yards over the entire regular season.

“Sherman finished the season with 61 total tackles, two tackles for loss, 11 passes defended and three interceptions, including one pick six. He also recorded two interceptions in the postseason and a forced fumble.”

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