5 players who must improve

The 49ers are searching for their first playoff berth since their run to Super Bowl in 2013. Here are five players who need to improve to make that happen.

After starting the season 0-9 most people wrote the 49ers off, but acquiring Jimmy G changed everything, and the team finished 6-1 in their final seven games. Things are looking incredibly positive for the new look 49ers, and most of it is due to the emergence of Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo’s excellence masks quite a few of the potential issues on offense, and as such, the defense has more question marks and places for improvement.

Kyle Shanahan is entering his second season as head coach, and is getting some more of the guys he wants to come to the bay. While adding new pieces is always exciting, a lot of the impetus for success comes from the incumbent players. Here are five guys that need to take another step if the 49ers want to compete in a tough NFC in 2018.

5. Trent Taylor

Last season, Garoppolo put up solid numbers with relatively lackluster talent at wide receiver. Going into his second season, Taylor can become one of Garoppolo’s favorite targets. Taylor fits the bill of the prototypical slot receiver in today’s NFL at 5-foot-7 and 174 pounds. If he is able to take another step forward, it could be huge for the 49ers’ offense.

Taylor also provides value as a punt returner, but with the team drafting Dante Pettis this year, Taylor may be able to focus on honing his receiving skills. Shanahan is an offensive wizard and with another offseason to identify how best to use his weapons… who knows what will happen.

Taylor only had 430 receiving yards last year, but it was on 43 receptions, good enough for an average of 10 yards per reception. It should be easy for him to improve on the stat sheet, but fans should expect to see a more polished receiver than they did last year.

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