Earlier this week, CBS Sports NFL analyst Pete Prisco picked linebacker NaVorro Bowman as the San Francisco 49ers most overrated player. He pointed to his injury and people thinking he was further along in his recovery than others might think. Considering the questionable talent on the roster, there were not a lot of other options.
Prisco is back with his list of underrated players on each team. For the San Francisco 49ers, he went with defensive tackle Ian Williams. Here’s what he said about Williams:
After battling injuries his first two seasons, Williams settled in as the starting nose tackle for 16 games and was a force in the run game. The 49ers were so impressed that they offered him a five-year deal to stay as a free agent. But he failed their physical, underwent ankle surgery, and signed a one-year deal. He might not be ready for the opener, but he is expected back early in the season.
Had Williams not had the offseason ankle surgeries and instead gotten his five-year contract, I’m curious if Prisco would have listed him as the underrated player. We don’t know his status for Week 1, or even the start of training camp. Of course, there are not exactly a lot of sure-fire “underrated” options on the 49ers. At season’s end we might look back and say, “Well, we clearly underrated Player X,” but for now, we really have no idea who will exceed our expectations, and who will fall short.
I think Dontae Johnson is worth consideration, but I’m not at all surprised he is probably not even on Prisco’s radar. He keeps track of the whole league, but there’s a lot of players to follow. And considering Johnson did not move into the lineup until later in the season, and has an undetermined role for 2016, it is easy to overlook him.