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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
49ers rankings: 1-5

By Bill Williamson

We are taking a look at the top 60 players in the San Francisco 49ers' program and will rank them from 1-60. We are going to take a look in a 12-part series, moving upward. The ranking considerations are based on 2013 production, future projections, age and contract status:

1. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick: This is the most important position on any team and the 49ers (who have one of the best rosters in the NFL) are in fine shape with Kaepernick as their quarterback. He has a 21-8 record in 29 NFL starts and he's getting better.

2. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman: Bowman had an unreal 2013 season, but it ended with him tearing his ACL in his knee in the NFC title game. I talked to some scouts and they believe he still belongs in this spot even though he may not be 100 percent when next season starts.

3. Linebacker Aldon Smith: If Smith's off-field troubles are behind him, his future is boundless. He is a dominant, complete player.

4. Tackle Joe Staley: This left tackle just keeps on being dominant. The glue of a great offensive line.

5. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree: No, Richard Sherman, Crabtree is neither "sorry" nor "mediocre." He showed how important he was to this offense when he returned from a torn Achilles in December. A healthy Crabtree means the world to this offense.