A big part of the San Francisco 49ers resurgence last season was the staunch play by the defense. The D ranked fourth in overall defense and were number one defending against the run, giving up only 77.2 rushing yards per game. This season, the offense is much improved but the defense will lead the team again in getting back to the playoffs.
Linebacker Patrick Willis has been the leader on defense ever since he came into the league in 2007. Willis will be key to the 49ers success this year as he enters his sixth season in the NFL. Willis is without a doubt the best linebacker in the league and that’s not just a 49ers fan perspective. NFL.com has been releasing their top 100 players of 2012 the past few weeks and recently unveiled the top-ten. Willis landed at the number ten spot. To see the full list go to NFL.com.
When you look at the list you will see one linebacker ahead of Willis, Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware at number six. Ware is a great linebacker with 99.5 sacks in his seven-year career and he had 20 sacks in the 2008 season. Willis and Ware are equally matched in a lot of categories but I give the edge to Willis because he is the 49ers quarterback on defense and calls out the plays. That and I am Niners fan and would never acknowledge a Cowboys player being better than a 49ers player.
The 49ers had a total of seven players on the top 100 list. That tied for the most by a team with the Ravens and Eagles also having seven players selected. Here is the rest of the 49ers who made the list with their position rank:
Justin Smith (17)
Frank Gore (28)
Vernon Davis (43)
Joe Staley (67)
Carlos Rogers (69)
NaVorro Bowman (85)
What do you think of the NFL’s top-100 list? Did any 49ers players get snubbed from the list? Is Willis the best linebacker in the league? Tell your thoughts in the comments!