After being led by eight Pro Bowlers to the NFC Championship game in 2011, the 49ers now move to the 2012 season with much higher expectations.
There were many "stars" for the 49ers last season, which is expected of Super Bowl contenders. Now, after a busy offseason, the 49ers' deeper receiving core and strengthened defense will again look to contend for the Lombardi Trophy.
To return to the NFC championship game, though, they will need to be better in 2012 than they were in 2011, meaning stars must emerge to push this team over the edge.
Here are two guys who could break out and be embraced as "stars" by 49er fans if they can help lead the 49ers back to the playoffs.