Ah yes. The way-too-early projections continue to circulate among national analysts following the close of the 2021 NFL Draft. But, really, who are we kidding. It's still fun to see how pundits perceive the 49ers roster following its first-year additions and roster depth heading into the 2021 season.
And optimistically, many foresee the 49ers returning to Super Bowl-contending form with their added playmakers, key returnees and optimistically a clean bill of health.
Here's a look at where several national media outlets have placed San Francisco in their post-draft power rankings.
"The 49ers should be more dangerous defensively with a much healthier roster and the potential of rookie Trey Lance starting gives their versatile offense a much higher ceiling."
Previous Ranking: 8
Fox Sports: 6
"(The 49ers) fortified what they're already really good at. O-line, run the football. To me, that's about empowering Trey Lance. If he eventually plays this year, they went and doubled down on their O-line, which was already good. They doubled down on their running backs, which were already strong."
CBS Sports: 6
"Even if it's Jimmy Garoppolo playing quarterback, the return of healthy players makes this a much better team than a year ago. Trey Lance might wait to play."
Previous Ranking: 24
"No team improved its stock in our rankings more than the 49ers. Whether that's due to an expected bounce back with better injury luck, or a raised ceiling if Trey Lance takes over for Jimmy Garoppolo in the second half of the season, there are reasons to be confident."
Previous Ranking: 13
USA Today: 7
"Even if QB Trey Lance, the draft's No. 3 overall pick, takes a redshirt season, this team will be formidable if its main players merely stay healthy in 2021."
Previous Ranking: 9
"We're still not entirely sure who was the target of the smokescreen, but the Niners were ultimately successful in masking their intentions before selecting Trey Lance with the third-overall pick. Lance is a bit of a mystery prospect due to his sparsity of college reps, but the upside -- which factors in his physical and mental tools and the QB-friendly system he enters into -- is enormous. What this means for Jimmy Garoppolo is unknown: he cuts the profile of a fine insurance policy for a Niners team that can rightfully say it has Super Bowl aspirations despite last season's 6-10 clunker."
Bleacher Report: 11
"After trading up to acquire the third-overall pick in the 2021 draft, the San Francisco 49ers were the focus of a ton of offseason speculation. Which young quarterback did the Niners mortgage their future to obtain?
"As it turns out, it was North Dakota State's Trey Lance, a wildly athletic but raw signal-caller who played only one game in 2020. Lance's mobility and arm talent gives him one of the highest ceilings of any quarterback in the class. But given his lack of experience, it's a pretty safe bet that Jimmy Garoppolo will remain the team's starter, at least in the short term.
"San Francisco's 2020 season was an injury-marred disaster. But (Bleacher Report analyst Brad) Gagnon believes that this team could be primed for an exceedingly rapid rebound.
"'Please don't forget that the 49ers were a Super Bowl team before losing Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman, K'Waun Williams and Jaquiski Tartt to injuries of varying severity for long stretches in 2020,' he wrote. 'It was one of the worst injury situations I've seen in my 14 years covering the NFL. Add most of those guys back, factor in the possibility that Lance catches fire in a great system as a rookie, and the 49ers are a Super Bowl contender again.'"
As for the rest of the NFC West, here's how the 49ers counterparts fared:
Highest Ranking: 8 (CBS Sports)
Lowest Ranking: 23 (SI.com)
Los Angeles Rams
Highest Ranking: 4 (SI.com)
Lowest Ranking: 9 (CBS Sports)
Highest Ranking: 4 (Fox Sports)
Lowest Ranking: 12 (CBS Sports/USA Today)