Two former San Francisco 49ers defenders, linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive lineman Justin Smith, will become eligible this year for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2020. Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio was the defensive coordinator in San Francisco for each player's final four NFL seasons.

If it were up to Fangio, Smith would be a no-brainer Hall of Fame inductee. The Broncos coach spoke with Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area over the weekend, and while he didn't explicitly state the same about Willis, he had nothing but good things to say about the former 49ers linebacker.

The conversation aired on the latest 49ers Insider Podcast.

"Patrick was already a very good player when we got there, obviously," Fangio said of Willis. "But I do think we helped bring his game to a higher level, and I think he would tell you that. Patrick was into football. He was a great guy during the week. He would ask a lot of questions, always wanted to improve. He was a pro's pro all the time I was there.

"I was disappointed to see his career end so suddenly, back then. But nothing but good things about Patrick."

Fangio points out that Willis grew as a pass defender within his defense while remaining a good run defender.

"His speed was rare," Fangio added. "There weren't many linebackers that could run as fast as him in the history of football. He was a special player, and I was lucky to coach him."

Smith "undoubtedly" deserves a spot in Canton, says Fangio. You can hear his fondness for Smith in the way he speaks of the defensive lineman.

"He's a guy that kind of was a big part of being the heart and soul of that defense," Fangio said of Smith. "He was a leader on the field, did a lot of the hard jobs. The only guy that I know of that made All-Pro one year both as a defensive tackle and a defensive end. I definitely think he should be in the Hall of Fame. In my opinion, it's a no-brainer."

Maiocco asked Fangio what his pitch for Smith might sound like.

"Well, he was a great player for a long time, playing two different positions," Fangio responded. "He came to San Francisco and transformed his body and his game differently than he played in Cincinnati, and really excelled at it."

Fangio went on to say that if the voters were made up only of offensive linemen who played against Smith and coaches who had to plan against him, the former defensive lineman would get most of their votes.

You can listen to the entire 49ers Insider Podcast episode below.