One of the other nice surprises from Saturday’s padded practice in 49ers training camp was Joe Williams turning some heads. In 2017, Thomas wasn’t anything to write home about, getting IRed at the end of the season and probably fighting for his job in year two.
This already is a huge improvement to his lackluster 2017. The Joe Williams on the field right now is the Joe Williams many thought the 49ers were going to get when they drafted him in 2017. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan got some Williams questions due to his work already displayed and Shanahan has also noted his improvement for his second year:
“. I think Joe has got a lot of ability and it’s been very apparent that he has had a different mindset this year than he did last year. Sometimes that just takes time. Everyone handles it differently and it took Joe a little bit, I think mentality-wise, but just watching him out there today, the run we just brought up, running back, you cannot think you have to hit it and not hesitate. He’s been doing that in OTAs and he did it in these three practices. It was real neat to get the pads on today and he got a few good opportunities. He didn’t flinch, he hit it and had some pretty good results for it. You hope he can feel that and give him some confidence and continue to build off of it.”
It’s only Day 3, and the first day of pads. We’ll need to see how Williams responds after getting his bell rung. Jerick McKinnon got drilled by Reuben Foster and it’s only a matter of time before Williams gets blasted by the defense.
The safe bet for running backs making the roster was Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida, and Raheem Mostert. Mostert offered special teams value as well as running back value in an emergency. Now, that isn’t so clear. This is Kyle Shanahan we’re talking about here, so putting McKinnon, Breida, and Williams all on the field for the same snap isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
One things certain, if this is indicative of anything, that 49ers backfield could be downright filthy.