Fortunes can change in a hurry in the NFL.
With Jim Harbaugh as coach, the San Francisco 49ers returned to their lofty status as one of the league's premier teams. In his four years with the team, including playoffs, San Francisco went 49-22-1. But when Harbaugh left following the 2014 season, things went south quickly.
New coach Jim Tomsula was an embarrassment from the beginning, the 49ers watched a seemingly endless parade of talented players walk out the door and they plummeted to a 5-11 record.
So big changes were in order, starting at coach. Tomsula was shown the door after only one year, and former Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly was hired. Somewhat like Harbaugh, Kelly had good success with the Eagles, but his style rubbed enough people the wrong way that he was replaced.
The Buffalo News continues its look at the Bills’ opponents in 2016 with a closer look at the 49ers, who visit Buffalo in Week Six.
Additions: G Zane Beadles (previously with Jacksonville), QB Thad Lewis (Philadelphia).
Analysis: Beadles will start at left guard and Lewis knows Kelly's system from their time with the Eagles.
Subtractions: G Alex Boone (signed with Minnesota), TE Brian Leonhardt (Minnesota).
Analysis: Boone signed for an average of $6.7 million per season with the Vikings, so they think he's one of the better guards in the NFL. As with their free-agent signings, the 49ers weren't very active here.
Draft report: Oregon DT DeForest Buckner (first round), Stanford G Joshua Garnett (first round), LSU CB Rashard Robinson (fourth round), Florida RB Kelvin Taylor (sixth round).
Analysis: Shocker! Chip Kelly picked an Oregon player! Buckner, though, was a top-10 talent by just about every draft analyst and should slide into the starting lineup quickly. ... The same is true of Garnett, whom the 49ers moved up to pick. ... Robinson has serious character red flags that dropped him to the fourth round, but is talented and could be a steal if he stays on the straight and narrow. ... Taylor is the son of former Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor. The younger Taylor has a chance for playing time behind starter Carlos Hyde.
Returning Pro Bowlers: LB NaVorro Bowman, OT Joe Staley.
Biggest question: Which quarterback winds up with the starting job – Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick? Gabbert took first-team reps during spring practices, but Kaepernick wasn't 100 percent after having offseason surgeries on his thumb, shoulder and knee. Neither option may excite fans, but at least Kelly can have both of them go through an entire offseason in his system before making a decision. No matter who winds up with the job, the 49ers are in the middle of a rebuild. It would be a surprise to see them improve by any more than a couple of games on last year's record.