When legendary offensive tackle Joe Staley announced his retirement during the 2020 NFL Draft, it looked like the San Francisco 49ers would have a huge hole to fill at one of the most important positions in football.
But, general manager John Lynch had other ideas. In a ninja-like move, Lynch sent a 2020 fifth-round pick and 2021 third-round selection to the Washington Football Team in exchange for All-Pro tackle Trent Williams.
The 32-year-old spent four seasons with head coach Kyle Shanahan in Washington, and should be a great fit in the Niners scheme. Pro Football Focus ranked the top 25 offensive tackles in the NFL, and ranked Williams No. 8:
“In the wake of Joe Staley’s retirement, the 49ers swooped in and replaced him with another top-10 tackle in Williams. He didn’t play a snap for Washington last year, but he was the model of excellence as a pass-blocker in the eight years prior. In each of those years, Williams never ranked lower than 13th among tackles in pass-block grade and had multiple seasons in the top three. Sure, there might be some concern with Williams considering he last played in 2018, which was his lowest-graded season since his rookie campaign (still ranked 20th at the position). But despite that, he’s still a top-10 tackle.”
At 6’5, 320 pounds, Williams is a freak athlete. He has the speed, and agility to be effective in San Francisco’s outside zone system. Shanahan discussed Williams’ abilities during the 49ers State of the Franchise event in June.
“When a guy like Trent can just randomly be available like that, that was the first draft pick we made when we were in Washington, and to be with Trent as a rookie, he was as talented as any player we’ve been around. He’s a guy I truly believe can play three-technique in this league if he wanted to. If he goes to the basketball court, he’s going to play point guard as well as he can play center. He is that type of athlete.”
The expectations for Williams are high, considering he didn’t play a single down last season. Along with Mike McGlinchey, the 49ers will have one of the best duos at tackle in the league.
Hopefully Williams, and cornerback Richard Sherman don’t have any of these moments in the locker room:
Where would you rank the pairing of Williams, and McGlinchey among offensive tackle tandems in the NFL?