The 49ers had a historically great defense last season as they led the NFL by allowing only 169.2 passing yards per game. Much of that came from a dominant defensive line, though.
Outside of cornerback Richard Sherman, San Francisco's secondary doesn't have any other stars. The 49ers' 12 interceptions last season were far from the top of the league. But their defensive backs might feature one of the most underappreciated players in all of football.
Nickelback K'Waun Williams deserves your attention. NFL Media's Cynthia Frelund named Williams as San Francisco's most underappreciated player, and he has a strong case.
Williams, 28, led the 49ers in forced fumbles with four last season and was tied for second with two interceptions. His importance was seen in a major way as the 49ers blew out the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, too.
As the 49ers picked apart Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, Williams played 84 percent of San Francisco's defensive snaps, registering seven tackles and forced a strip-sack fumble on the star QB.
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Williams isn't just an impressive tackler, too. He only allowed one touchdown pass all last season, including the playoffs, when the 49ers strolled into Super Bowl LIV.
K'Waun Williams in coverage this season (inc. playoffs)
TDs allowed: 1 pic.twitter.com/Pxg0SgLRAO
— PFF (@PFF) January 31, 2020
The five-year pro had a 77.2 Pro Football Focus grade last season. According to PFF, he only allowed 8.1 yards per reception against the slot and gave up just 18 first-down receptions on 63 targets in the regular season.
While Sherman rightfully gets the shine in San Francisco's secondary, Williams deserves much more attention.
Why K'Waun Williams has case as 49ers' most underappreciated player originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area