Since the San Francisco 49ers were off this week, we have no PFF grades to recap. We have ten games of data where we can look at the best and worst graded players on both sides of the ball. Let’s start with the offense.
Trent Williams 89.7
Raheem Mostert 89.1
Jordan Reed 85.4
Mike McGlinchey 79.7
Jeff Wilson Jr. 79.1
George Kittle has a 79.7 grade, for what it’s worth.
The least surprising part about this list? Williams. The most? McGlinchey— at least, for some. Sports Info Solutions has a stat called “points earned” for lineman that’s described as:
“The total of a player’s EPA responsibility while blocking using the Total Points system that distributes credit among all players on the field for a given play. For blockers, this includes accounting for blown blocks, yards before contact on running plays, and performance given the defenders in the box.”
Williams “points earned” is near the top of the league among all offensive lineman at 19. McGlinchey isn’t too far behind the star left tackle at 15 total points. Williams has eight total blown blocks this season, which comes to an average of 1.4%. There aren’t enough good things to say about him. As big of a shock as it may come to fans, McGlinchey’s blown block percentage is 2.4% this season. He’s blown 15 total blocks, with 13 of those coming against the pass.
Per SIS, Mostert is averaging a first down on over 17% of his carries. He’s averaging 10.9 — yes, nearly 11 yards per carry— on rushes outside the tackle. Mostert’s also breaking a tackle 17.6% of the time and remains in the top-50 in yards after contact despite missing more games than he’s played in.
Wilson Jr. having success shouldn’t come as a surprise. I had a convo with The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen about whether he was a better option than JaMycal Hasty the last time the 49ers played the Rams this season. We both loved Wilson’s vision and how he was disciplined as a runner, which fits what the Niners want at running back outside of athletic ability. Wilson doesn’t qualify, but a higher percentage of his carries have gone for first downs than Mostert (23.7%), and Wilson Jr. averages 2.6 yards after contact compared to Mostert’s 2.7. Raheem has the explosiveness, but Wilson Jr.’s inside running is something this team has missed.
Reed has always been a talent worth the risk, and this year has proven it. When Reed’s been on the field, he’s played at a high level. Reed is no longer the big-play threat he once was, but he’s caught 89% of his passes. Reed also averages 3.6 yards after the catch, which has helped turn nine of his 17 receptions into first downs. Plus, in limited action, Reed has been fine as a blocker. He’d be the best TE2 in the NFL with Kittle healthy.
Five-lowest graded 49ers on offense
JaMycal Hasty 58.9
Ross Dwelley 58.5
Trent Taylor 53.9
Nick Mullens 53.8
Hroniss Grasu 50.6
It wouldn’t have been difficult to guess the majority of this list. Grasu has the same number of blown blocks in 198 snaps as Williams does in 577 snaps. He started well, but the more tape Grasu put out there, the more defensive lineman exposed him. That’s no slight to Grasu, as he was not supposed to be on the field for the 49ers this season. He’s only allowed a sack and two QB hits, but picking up stunts and communication was a significant issue when Grasu was in at center.
IQR is a stat that builds on passer rating by considering the value of a QB independent of results outside of his control—like dropped passes or interceptions, for example. Mullens is seven percentage points worse than Jimmy Garoppolo at 91.5%. If you’re wondering how valid the metric is, the top five are Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr, and Deshaun Watson.
Mullens’s biggest issue, and what separates him from Jimmy, is he’s not throwing passes on target. Mullens’s on-target percentage is 69%, which may sound good until you realize that’s a few percentage points below average. When you aren’t on-target and aren’t even throwing the ball down the field, it’s an issue. Add in Mullens being among the league leaders in sack and interception percentage, and it’s easy to see why PFF views him so poorly.
Dwelley has looked unplayable for the majority of the season outside of a couple of nice catches here and there. His blocking has cost the team at the most inopportune times.
As for Taylor, I’m not sure what he brings to the table at this point other than health. He’s not getting open and not fielding punts. Taylor has ten receptions in ten games for 86 yards. His average depth of target is only 5.7 yards. When the quarterbacks have targeted Trent, their passer rating is 39.0. Among players who have at least 20 targets this season, that’s the fourth-worst in the NFL among all receivers and tight ends.
Hasty feels like a “less is more” kind of back who will make a couple of highlight plays but will be dependent on blocking. It’s tough to get a good read on Hasty’s season, considering how poorly the offensive line was when Hasty was on the field.