Why Trent Williams is the 49ers’ real MVP despite Brock Purdy vs. Christian McCaffrey debate

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Building an MVP case for Trent Williams, while unconventional, can be compelling considering his invaluable contributions to the 49ers’ success during the 2023 NFL season. Here’s a deep dive into his standout qualities:

Trent Williams has solidified his place as one of the premier blockers in the NFL, if not the absolute best. Excelling at the crucial yet often overlooked left tackle position, he’s showcased remarkable prowess by not conceding a single sack over 700 snaps played.

Despite being 35 years old, Williams exhibits the agility, strength, and skill akin to a player in the prime of his career. He consistently delivers impactful blocks, particularly excelling in open space and demonstrating force while executing pulling maneuvers, essential for clearing paths for Christian McCaffrey on toss plays.

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Williams’ exceptional footwork and creative approach significantly contribute to his effectiveness. For instance, there are instances where he strategically positions himself, utilizing his power to neutralize defenders and eliminate them from the play, as demonstrated against the Cardinals.

In pass protection situations, Williams stands firm and rarely allows opponents to breach his defenses, showcasing his elite skills at holding the line.

His performance reflects outstanding grades both as a run-blocker and pass-protector, earning an impressive overall grade of 85.8 from Pro Football Focus. This places him as the second-highest graded offensive tackle in the league. Penei Sewell of the Lions, ranking above him, has primarily played on the right side of the offensive line throughout the season.

Williams remains the epitome of a top-tier left tackle in the NFL, and his statistics, as analyzed by PFF, substantiate this claim:

– Pass-blocking grade: 91.2
– Run-blocking grade: 84.7
– Overall grade: 85.8

These numbers underscore his exceptional proficiency and reliability in protecting the quarterback and paving the way for the rushing game, making a compelling case for his candidacy as a potential MVP candidate, albeit at a position traditionally undervalued in MVP conversations.

Stat Total Rank
Sacks allowed 0 1st
Penalties 9 T-9th
Run blocking grade 84.9 3rd
Pass blocking grade 78.8 14th
Overall PFF grade 85.8 2nd

 

PFF grades for the offensive linemen who have played at least 30 percent of the team’s snaps this season.

Player Position Snaps Grade Rank
Trent Williams Offensive tackle 700 85.8 2nd of 83
Jon Feliciano Guard 338 84.4 3rd of 77
Colton McKivitz Offensive tackle 855 64.7 44th of 83
Jake Brendel Center 844 59.2 25th of 39
Spencer Burford Guard 689 50.3 60th of 77
Aaron Banks Guard 711 49.9 62nd of 77