PFF went through the NFL’s best single-season outlier performances since 2006, and one San Francisco 49er made the list. He has been in the news for his work off the field, but in 2015 Ian Williams was a stud:
DI: IAN WILLIAMS, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2015) AND SHARRIF FLOYD, MINNESOTA VIKINGS (2014)
Williams spent years working his way through the ranks of a talented 49ers’ defense after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He finally cracked the defensive rotation in 2014 with an 84.0 overall grade on 215 defensive snaps, but it was the 2015 season where he saw the largest role of his NFL career. Williams played 661 defensive snaps that season and earned an 87.5 overall grade — ninth among 126 qualifying interior defenders. He was set to sign a five-year, $27.5 million deal the following offseason, but the offer was reworked to a one-year deal following a failed physical. Williams didn’t play another NFL snap.
So, Ian Williams, 93, want. Need, even pic.twitter.com/qA9oVFBBXG— Kyle Posey (@KP_Show) March 5, 2016
Watching Williams, the following offseason was eye-opening. I’d love to hear the stories from you all on Williams failed physical and how big of a deal it was at the time. My only exposure to Williams was what I saw on the field, and that was a great interior defensive lineman.
When you think “one-year wonder,” who do you think of? It has to be Chris Borland, right? Unless that’s too much recency bias. I remember watching Borland at Wisconsin thinking he’d be too slow to cut it at the NFL level and wouldn’t make any plays. Woo boy, was I wrong. All Borland did was make plays. He lived around the football. Borland would have been a fascinating player to see develop, especially considering the linebackers he learned from.
Who is your answer?