I’m sure we’ll have a few takeaways from the 49ers State of the Union on Wednesday evening. The red alternates are universally loved, so that was a no-brainer.
Mays said, “He was making plays you never seen a safety make. Led the team in tackles, making interceptions.” When Vega asked what it was like being teammates with 49ers first-round pick Ward. Some things don’t change, especially the play of Ward. From college to the NFL, now that he finally has a home at safety.
“He never ran out of energy in college, he was left, right, all over the field. He was definitely a leader.” Mays alluded to the versatility of Ward, much like we have witnessed in Ward’s 49ers tenure. I think we are starting to see a new leaf of Ward. That’s him being a leader on this team in the public eye. Not to say his play hasn’t shown a lead-by-example model on the field. His leadership has shown to be a little more vocal now.
A FUTURE HEAD COACH?
Kelly in a questionnaire during his time in Philadelphia was asked which one of his players would mostly likely serve as a coach. His answer, of course, was Ryans, who has since received similar praise from Shanahan and Saleh. Both have said they expect Ryans to become a head coaching candidate soon.
Becoming a head coach is one of Ryans’ stated goals, though he didn’t put the cart in front of the horse during his interview for this story. “All that stuff, if it comes, it’ll come. But I’m just focused on being on being the best defensive coordinator I can be right now,” he said.
Earning his stripes to garner head-coaching consideration won’t be easy.
At 215 pounds, Sermon seems like the best candidate to fill in for the hard-running Wilson. Sermon was used in a similar rushing attack at Ohio State and his learning curve should not be too steep. The rookie already developed a strong rapport with position coach Bobby Turner and was the de facto starter when Mostert was out with a knee sprain in the spring.
His main competition may be Gallman, who received little publicity when the 49ers signed him in March. At 210 pounds, he’s also around Wilson’s size and averaged 4.6 yards per carry and scored six rushing touchdowns while filling in for injured Giants starter Saquon Barkley last season. To put that in perspective, the fleet-footed Mostert averaged 5 yards an attempt last season.
2. Trent Williams, San Francisco 49ers
Not a bad situation for the 49ers — just as former franchise left tackle Joe Staley was announcing his retirement, Kyle Shanahan’s team was able to trade a couple of mid-round picks to the then-Redskins for Williams’ services. Williams sat out the entire 2019 season due to friction between himself and his former team, but it didn’t take him long to hit the ground running in his new home. Williams allowed three sacks in his first four games back in action, but gave up just one after that, along with three quarterback hits and nine quarterback hurries from Week 5 on. Williams has been a superlative pass-protector for years, but what sets him apart is his movement skills and commitment to demolition in the open field. As they gave him a six-year, $138.06 million contract this offseason, it’s clear that the 49ers agree.
Matt: I love this trio of pass-catchers and don’t wish to speak ill of any of them. However, parsing out the volume on this team, an operation that’s likely to finish bottom-10 in pass attempts and captained by a rookie passer is tricky. There’s so much debate in the fantasy community between the games missed each last year and how that affected the target distribution ... but who knows if that matters. This offense is so young and players are evolving. Honestly, I think every one of them is fairly valued in ADP right now. My favorite to select, however, is Brandon Aiyuk. I believe he’s a separator on the Stefon Diggs/Calvin Ridley axis and not a guy you have to create touches for. We’ve only seen the beginning of his rise