49ers Roundtable: 5 Questions on the Upcoming Season

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1. Who is the most important player going into this season?

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nikhil Ramgiri: The 49er defense will head into the season facing adversity unlike anything they’ve ever faced under Jim Harbaugh. With the absences of Bowman, Smith, Dorsey, and possibly McDonald, Patrick Willis will need to step up as a proven leader and will be the Niners’ most important player.

Jason Fierros: Colin Kaepernick. He is the captain of this team, and everything will fall on him if their offense begins to fall apart.

Sam Churich: Colin Kaepernick. With question marks on the defensive side of the ball, the Niners have to rely on Kaepernick and the offense to put points on the board to win games early on in the season.

David Ochoa: With all the question marks on defense, Colin Kaepernick will make or break the team. If he plays to his potential, the 49ers can beat anyone, but if he struggles, the 49ers could be in trouble.

Marc Grandi: Tramaine Brock is they key to success this season. It could just as easily be Chris Culliver, but I picked Brock because of his good performance last year. Either way, both must perform well and lock up the two starting cornerback spots. It’s obvious that pass defense was a weakness last year, and if they want to dethrone Seattle, they can’t allow deep passes like they did to Jermaine Kearse on 4th-and-seven in the NFC Championship game.

Maggie Pilloton: Patrick Willis. Colin Kaepernick is a very close second, but the 49ers’ defense desperately needs Willis’ leadership and veteran presence right now. With NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, and other key defensive players out, Willis needs to step up, and he will.