Here is how the 49ers stack up with the Seahawks position by position:
QUARTERBACKS: Seahawks. Russell Wilson is a better pocket passer right now than Colin Kaepernick. And Wilson’s backups — Tarvaris Jackson and Terrelle Pyor — have had more success in the NFL than Kaepernick’s backup — Blaine Gabbert.
RUNNING BACKS: Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch still is in his prime. Frank Gore is not. Neither guy’s backups are special.
WIDE RECEIVERS: 49ers. The Seahawks have two injury prone receivers (Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice), two former undrafted free agent receivers (Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse) and a rookie receiver (Paul Richardson).
TIGHT ENDS: 49ers. Luke Willson had a better rookie season than his former college teammate, Vance McDonald. But Vernon Davis is a much better player than Zach Miller.
OFFENSIVE LINE: 49ers. The Seahawks’ starting guards — James Carpenter and J.R. Sweezy — are below-average players.
BASE DEFENSIVE LINE: Seahawks. This is very close. Aldon Smith and Dan Skuta are better run defenders than Cliff Avril. But Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel were the two best run-stopping interior defensive linemen in the NFC last season, better than Justin Smith and Glenn Dorsey. The Seahawks lost Red Bryant in free agency, but his replacement — Michael Bennett — was a better run defender than Bryant and Ray McDonald last season.
NICKEL DEFENSIVE LINE: Seahawks. Another close one. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett each had 9 sacks last year. Bruce Irvin had 10 sacks in 2012 when he rushed the passer 344 times. In 2013, he rushed only 121 times. Chris Clemons signed with the Jaguars this offseaon, so Irvin probably will rush the passer more than 344 times next season. For the Niners, Aldon Smith could miss half of next season and Justin Smith’s pass-rush productivity is declining — zero sacks in the playoffs last season, and just one sack against an NFC West opponent (the Rams during Week 4).
LINEBACKERS: 49ers. Malcolm Smith is the Seahawks’ best linebacker. He’s good, but not as good as Patrick Willis. Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are decent.
CORNERBACKS: Seahawks. Nothing to explain here.
SAFETIES: Seahawks. Kam Chancellor is a two-time Pro Bowler. Earl Thomas is a three-time Pro Bowler.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Seahawks. Both the 49ers and Seahawks have good special teams, but Percy Harvin is a difference-maker. He might be the best kick returner in the league.