San Francisco 49ers: Silver Linings from Horrid Offseason

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The Return of NaVorro Bowman

Oct 20, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVarro Bowman (53) during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

When Smith and Willis retired, they both left a huge gap not only on the field, but in the clubhouse. Someone new must now step in and be the defensive leader the team is lacking. That player can be Bowman.

Bowman has been in the league for five years, and all five have been with the 49ers. He is currently the longest tenured defensive player on San Francisco’s roster. That fact alone makes him a valuable defensive leader, but his play on the field isn’t too shabby either.

Through his first five years, Bowman has racked up 482 total tackles, nine sacks, seven forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, 23 passes defended with three interceptions and one touchdowns. In his last full season, Bowman racked up 145 tackles, five sacks and his lone touchdown. His 145 tackles ranked fifth in the NFL.

Going forward, Bowman will be a huge bonus upon his return. He will help lead the team who will certainly be in need of a vocal figure during a time of rebuilding. His return will give the 49ers a player to build around on defense.

And while new rookie Arik Armstead may play defensive line rather than linebacker, Bowman can certainly help him learn the process of becoming an NFL player. Since Armstead is looked on to be one of the key players of the future and since he is fairly raw, Bowman can mentor him and help him become a true NFL pro.

Bowman is already a two time pro bowler and three time First Team All-Pro and assuming he stays healthy there is no reason he can’t achieve those honors again.

Bowman will be a pleasant bright spot on a 49ers defense that is expected to be mediocre after a multitude of offseason losses.

Next: Carlos Hyde as the Lead Back