Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

PFF honors 49ers’ Trent Williams with 2020 best O-lineman award

Jan 21, 2021 at 6:19 AM--

Trent Williams had a helluva audition with the San Francisco 49ers in 2020. The team traded to acquire him from Washington, knowing that the offensive tackle had just one year remaining on his contract. Now, Williams is scheduled to hit free agency, and he may be the most important offseason candidate to be re-signed.

Williams wasn't just Pro Football Focus' highest-graded tackle from this past season. He was the second-highest graded offensive lineman. Only guard Wyatt Teller of the Cleveland Browns earned a higher overall grade (92.9 vs. 91.9). But it was Williams who was honored by Pro Football Focus this week as the league's best offensive lineman.

The analytics site handed out its annual awards, and Williams earned the Bruce Matthews Award for the best offensive lineman during the 2020 regular season. The award is named after the 14-time Pro Bowl selection, nine-time first-team All-Pro, and Hall of Fame offensive lineman who played 19 seasons with the Oilers and Titans.

"It's not often that a team can just replace one of its best-ever players and not skip a beat. It's even less often that a team can do it and actually upgrade at the position," wrote Sam Monson. "That's what the San Francisco 49ers managed when they replaced the retiring Joe Staley with Trent Williams, who then went on to earn the best PFF grade among all tackles for the third time in his career. Williams allowed 19 total pressures across 14 games, but it was his run blocking that was other-worldly throughout the season.

"His 91.8 PFF run-blocking grade was the best among all tackles, and his tape is littered with truly dominant blocks against hapless defenders who made the mistake of trying to get past Williams to the ball carrier. His highlight reel this season belongs in the Hall of Fame, and that's why he wins our Bruce Matthews Award as the best offensive lineman in football in 2020."

Cornerback Jason Verrett was a candidate for Pro Football Focus' Comeback Player of the Year, but that honor obviously went to former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, now with Washington.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers was named as Pro Football Focus' Most Valuable Player.

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