It was a brilliant year for the San Francisco 49ers, but it ended in the most painful fashion once again. Despite having a lead in overtime of Super Bowl 58, the Niners fell to the Kansas City Chiefs and were forced to watch their opponents lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy and celebrate.

If this story sounds familiar, it's because it is. The Niners have lost to the Chiefs twice in the Super Bowl in the last five seasons.

Fans of the team and a number of players on the roster may spend much of the offseason thinking about why San Francisco fell short and what could have been done to prevent Patrick Mahomes from leading the Chiefs to the win. But San Francisco general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan can't afford to look back.

The 2024 season is approaching at a rapid pace, and the start of the league year March 13 will give the Niners and the 0ther 31 teams to add to their team through free agency. There is no doubt that the Niners bosses will certainly look to make moves in this area, but only if it makes sense from an on-field perspective as well as financial sense.

The Niners certainly are one of the strongest teams in the league, and they have big names at the skill positions.

Skill position strength

Start with quarterback Brock Purdy, who has emerged as one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL just two years after he was the last player selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.

While the 49ers need depth at the quarterback position — all NFL teams need a competent backup in case of injury — Purdy does not have to take a back seat to many others. He may not have the strongest arm or be the most athletic, but he gets the job done. Purdy completed 308 of 444 passes for 4,280 yards with 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

The 49ers have the best running back in the league in Christian McCaffrey, and he has thrived since being traded to the Niners midway through the 2022 season. McCaffrey led the lead the league with 1,459 rushing yards and he scored 14 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 67 passes for 564 yards with 7 TD receptions.

It is doubtful any running back in the NFL will come close to McCaffrey's combined production.

Samuel, Aiyuk and Kittle are a dynamic Niner trio

The combination of Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk gave the Niners a sold 1-2 punch at the wide receiver spot. Additionally, tight end George Kittle is one of the best at his position in the NFL.

Samuel was limited by nagging injuries throughout the season but he still caught 60 passes for 892 yard and 7 touchdowns. If he can stay healthy for a full season, he has a chance to show he is one of the best run after the catch receivers in the NFL.

While  the 49ers may not be overly active at these positions in free agency, they will be looking strengthen themselves in the upcoming draft.

Two of the players that appear to be sneaky good and could be on Lynch's radar include Chop Robinson of Penn State and Ricardo Hallman of Wisconsin. Both appear to be dynamic defensive performers.

LB-DE Chop Robinson, Penn State

The combination linebacker-defensive end appears to have the makeup to become a solid pass rusher in the NFL. Robinson was one of the best players on Penn State's outstanding defensive team, and he proved to be a a big-play maker during his two seasons with the Nittany Lions. He played his freshman year at Maryland before transferring to Penn State.

Robinson made a solid showing in 2022 with 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss, and he followed that up with 4.0 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and 2 forced fumbles last season.

He checks in at 6-3 and 240 pounds, and he appears to have the frame to add more weight and strength. If the Niners are looking for an edge rusher who can provide extra pressure, Robinson appears to have the makeup to fit their system.

CB Ricardo Hallman, Wisconsin 

Hallman played just one game for the Badgers in the 2021 season, but he got his feet wet in 2022 as he played in 10 games. While he didn't make a huge statistical contribution in that season, he got to know the Badgers' system and it set the stage for an excellent year in 2023.

Hallman had seven interceptions and he returned one of them for a touchdown. He also had 34 tackles and 5 passes defensed.

The cornerback understands how receivers want to attack, and he has the speed to stay with faster wideouts. His aggressiveness and confidence will play well at the next level.