San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch is at Alabama’s Pro Day. Adam Peters, the teams VP of personnel, is also in the building. It’s not really connecting the dots to say “oh my goodness the 49ers are taking Quinnen Williams.” Ohio State’s pro day is Wednesday, March 20th. The 49ers brass will likely be there to watch Bosa, Parris Campbell, and a host of their other prospects.As you know, Alabama is stacked full of prospects year in and year out. Deionte Thompson is a free safety that could interest the team in the second round. Later on in the draft maybe a guy like Christian Miller. Both of those guys are not working out today. They will be running on Alabama’s second pro day, which is April second. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the 49ers plan to spend time with the elite DT prospect today. Could it be?
Whenever you talk about the draft, fans are quick to say “just take the best player available.” It’s a flawed train of thought because it’s never that simple. What if, when the 49ers put their draft board together, they have Williams at the top. There’s now a conflict. Williams would not only be yet another interior lineman drafted by the team, he’d likely cause you to move on from one of your previous first rounders.
That’s before we even get into the Nick Bosa vs. Williams debate. We’ll save that for when the draft gets closer. What I’m saying is “just take the best player” is never as easy as it seems. When you look at the roster, or who the player is. Another example would be in the second round. What if you take Bosa/Williams, and another stud defensive lineman is there and he’s too good to pass up? Teams usually take the best player at a position of need. Not so much best player.
The name that’s come up a lot as of late if Solomon Thomas and whether the team is going to trade him. Others believe Arik Armstead is a guy the team could move on from. One would be the odd man out, depending on who the team drafts. Shoot, if the team really believes Williams is the guy, and by the time the second round rolls around and Florida State’s Brian Burns is there, perhaps both could be the odd man out.
There are a lot of moving parts. There is also over a month until the draft happens. It will be telling if the team brings in another edge rusher, or if they trade one of these players. The 49ers may not come out and say it, but they might tip their hand.
Though it may seem redundant, given the picks they’ve recently invested, it comes down to adding good football players. Thomas and Armstead were risks at the time. I wrote about Thomas before the draft and how his risk outweighs the reward. Neither of these two should prevent the 49ers from bringing in a guy as talented as Williams.
His numbers as a redshirt sophomore were ridiculous. Most pressures of any interior player. Got pressure 17.6% of the time. To paint a picture, the best players at their position are right around 10%. Anything over that is really good. 17% for an interior lineman? Unreal. There are many more numbers in Williams favor. He’s a very good player already that isn’t close to scratching his ceiling.
That’s not to say Bosa isn’t the answer. It’s just as difficult to find flaws in his game. The answer for Lynch and company is determining who would help the 49ers the most. Which is far from an easy decision.