Trent Williams hasn't played in an NFL game since 2018, but the 49ers' new left tackle might benefit more from the rest than be weighed down by potential rust.
Clinton Portis, who covered Williams as a TV and radio broadcaster during Williams' seven seasons in Washington, told 95.7 The Game's "Joe, Lo & Dibs" on Monday that the tackle's time off rejuvenated him.
"He's been out of football, and I think it's refreshing that he's been out of football," Portis said. "And it's allowed him to heal and ... it's allowed him to patch up."
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) April 27, 2020
Williams has not played 16 games in a season since 2013, missing 16 total games from 2014 through 2018 due to various ailments. He did not play at all in 2019, holding out through the first eight weeks of the regular season after alleging that Washington team doctors misdiagnosed a cancerous growth on his head. The 31-year-old didn't play the remainder of the year after reporting to Washington, ending the season on the reserve/non-football injury list.
When Williams did play, he simply was one of the best tackles in football. He made the Pro Bowl every season from 2012 through 2018, grading out as no worse than 20th at his position by Pro Football Focus' metrics during that time. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman's elite athleticism means he can do just about anything coach Kyle Shanahan's offensive scheme will ask of him, according to Portis.
"They have a clip of Trent pulling from tackle on a sweep where he's downfield about 20 yards, and he smashes a [defensive back] in the open field," Portis said. "Like, you don't find those kind of athletes at this position, so don't take this for granted.
"Trent Williams is a beast."
Trent Williams (#71) pulling and blocking in space remains fun to watch. pic.twitter.com/aVukssg2Cg
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) October 29, 2018
The 49ers traded for Williams on Day 3 of the NFL draft in order to replace now-retired left tackle Joe Staley. Staley's athleticism was nothing to sneeze at, either, and Williams is just about the closest thing to a like-for-like replacement the 49ers could have hoped for.
Whenever the 2020 NFL season starts, Williams will be refreshed and ready to step into Staley's shoes.
Why 49ers' Trent Williams will benefit from not playing last season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area