This is the final quintile of the Niners 25 best players. To read the previous quintile, click here.
21. Bruce Miller, FB – a Pro Bowl alternate in 2011, his rookie season. A very good blocker and a surprisingly good receiver for a fullback.
22. C.J. Spillman, ST – Led the team with 19 special teams tackles in 2011 (tied for fourth most in the NFL). Perhaps the best gunner on punt coverage in the NFL. Very fast and very good at tackling in the open field, Spillman makes it nearly impossible for Andy Lee to outkick his coverage.
23. Jonathan Goodwin, C – A Pro Bowl alternate last season, his first season as a Niner. Really struggled in pass protection the first half of the year. Stepped up down the stretch and in the playoffs once he’d gotten more comfortable in the offense.
24. Alex Smith, QB – Posted the best interception percentage in the NFL last season – 1.1. Played a brilliant game against the Saints in the playoffs. Finished about seventh in line for an NFC Pro Bowl appearance behind Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Cam Newton, Tony Romo and Matt Ryan. Threw for just 17 touchdown passes. Could jump a few quintiles next season if he throws more than 25 TDs and maintains a low interception percentage, or wins the Super Bowl.
25. Michael Crabtree, WR – The Niners leading receiver in the 2011 regular season, Crabtree caught just five passes for 28 yards in the playoffs. Bothered by an injured foot his first three seasons, he seems bothered no more. He looked faster than ever in minicamp. Poised to distinguish himself next season as more than just a middle-of-the-road receiver.