While the 2022 season may not have ended exactly how the San Francisco 49ers had hoped, the red and gold have lots to be proud of as they walk away from this year's campaign. The 49ers put together an improbable 13-4 season that was headlined by three different starting quarterbacks, swept the NFC West for the first time since 1997 and made their third appearance in the Conference Championship Game over the last four years. San Francisco is also home to the reigning AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in Nick Bosa and had the AP Assistant Coach of the Year, DeMeco Ryans, on staff as he coached up a defensive unit that finished No. 1 overall.
As the 49ers head into the offseason, there's a big sense of optimism surrounding head coach Kyle Shanahan and the team that is expected to return for the 2023 campaign. San Francisco has been tabbed at No. 4 in the latest set of NFL.com power rankings before the start of the new league year on March 15. Additionally, several other national outlets also have the 49ers in the top five contenders as the league-wide focus shifts to the upcoming season.
Here's a look at where the 49ers landed in the NFL power rankings:
NFL Writer Dan Hanzus
"Another offseason with intrigue at the quarterback position in San Francisco. Brock Purdy was a revelation during his scorching run to the NFC title game, but a serious elbow injury puts his summer availability in doubt. Purdy's misfortune seems to have opened up a huge window of opportunity for Trey Lance, the former No. 3 overall pick currently in line to gobble up first-team reps throughout the offseason program. We could be headed toward a true training camp competition between the young passers after Jimmy Garoppolo finds a new home in free agency. Never a dull QB moment by The Bay."
NFL Writer Nick Wagoner on Offseason Focus
"Brock Purdy and Trey Lance are the only two quarterbacks the Niners have under contract for next season and both are recovering from injuries. Lance (broken right ankle) expects to be a full go for OTAs and beyond, while Purdy (torn UCL in right elbow) won't be back until late July at the earliest. Which means San Francisco's quarterback dilemma must first be solved based on health, then on ability and upside. Would the 49ers run it back with just Purdy, Lance and a low-cost veteran? That's just one of the many quarterback questions the Niners must answer if they're going to contend for a Super Bowl again in 2023."
NFL Writer Frank Schwab
"The 49ers are set up well, but the QB question will linger."