The San Francisco 49ers have been represented on two of the four positional rankings lists from ESPN so far. Jimmy Garoppolo received two votes to put him 15th, while George Kittle received more votes than anyone to put him first among tight ends.
The latest list ranked the 10 best offensive tackles, and these rankings may be the worst yet. Tyron Smith was No. 1, and Cowboys fans will tell you he wasn’t even the best tackle on the team. Mitch Schwartz only received honorable mention votes, but many feel like he’s the top right tackle in the NFL and top-five among all tackles. The bias and name recognition continue to show even for those that work in the NFL. It’s evident, at least in these rankings, that those who voted favor physical traits.
Trent Williams was ranked third, and he didn’t play a snap in 2019. That may speak to the level of dominance Williams has played at previously:
Age: 31 | Highest ranking: 2 | Lowest ranking: 6
Williams left the game on top, and he’s back without giving up much ground.
“He was dominant the last few years he played, and now he’s well-rested,” an NFL defensive assistant coach said. “I expect him to dominate again.”
Williams’ nearly two-year absence from football due to a nasty holdout with Washington affected some voters, but Williams dominated Pro Football Focus ratings from 2017 to ‘19 with an overall 89.7 clip.
One AFC exec said Williams’ transition to San Francisco could be the best and worst thing for him, because he sometimes gets lazy on run blocks to the back side, which the 49ers emphasize.
“If he’s motivated in that area, he can clean up because he’s got everything else,” the exec said.
Dominate, indeed. We have no evidence of Williams being anything other than elite, so we shouldn’t move off those expectations. The exec that said Williams gets lazy on the backside of runs will be something to keep an eye on. The culture created in San Francisco won’t allow for any plays to be taken off. It helps when you’re working with Kittle on the backside of these runs. Something tells me Trent won’t be taking plays off when he’s lined up next to No. 85.