Pro Football Focus has been unveiling its list of the top 101 NFL players of the 2010s. There weren’t any current San Francisco 49ers from 75-101. Emmanuel Sanders made the list at No. 87. On the most recent list, Trent Williams came in at No. 59. Here is PFF’s blurb on the Niners new left tackle:
59. T TRENT WILLIAMS
Trent Williams took a season or so to get going in the NFL — his rookie year earned a PFF grade of just 63.4 — but once he was cooking, he quickly became one of the best linemen in the league. Since that rookie season, he hasn’t earned a grade lower than 75.0 and was above 80.0 for six straight seasons. His 2016 season was perhaps his best, surrendering just 16 total pressures over the season. Injuries have been the only blight on his career, but his on-field play has been exceptional, grading well consistently as both a run-blocker and pass-protector over the majority of the decade.
Training camp can’t come soon enough. The 1-on-1’s between Williams and Bosa will be must-see. For the 49ers, I think a year off for Williams will be a blessing in disguise for his health.
The other 49er to make the list? Linebacker NaVorro Bowman. I wasn’t around here when Bowman played, but outside of 49er land Bowman was one of the most respected linebackers of my lifetime. You know you’re dealing with a special player when you can have a legitimate conversation whether said player is better than Patrick Willis. Here is PFF’s blurb on Bowman:
The San Francisco 49ers had a remarkable run of drafting special linebackers only to see every one of them walk away from the game before their time. Bowman was a partner to Patrick Willis in the middle of the 49ers’ defense and was then briefly Willis’ successor before injuries forced him into a decline and ultimately to walk away. But he ranks this highly because of just how special his peak was. Over a three-year stretch to begin the decade, Bowman earned an overall PFF grade of at least 84.8, made more than 120 solo tackles (via PFF’s more accurate, retrospective count), and had 13 pass breakups and three picks. He was a dominant NFL inside linebacker and one of the best players in football.
Is Bowman on the 49ers Mount Rushmore of “What ifs?” He didn’t just do everything; he did everything at an extremely high level.