In light of NFL writer Dylan DeSimone’s thread on Twitter regarding former San Francisco 49ers great, Patrick Willis, I thought it’d be appropriate to revisit the greatness of Willis. Let’s head down Nostalgia Lane.
Even before he came to the San Francisco 49ers, the hype surrounding linebacker Patrick Willis was substantial.
Known as a bruising hitter, he was a coveted player in the 2007 NFL Draft. We all remember the video of him meeting a running back in the hole, and then just piledriving him like it was nothing. Fans of the team, like myself, rejoiced when he was selected 11th overall.
And even with the growing hype around Willis as he entered the league, no one could have ever predicted the rookie season he would have. As a rookie, he started all 16 games and recorded 135 tackles.
That’s right — 135 as a rookie.
In hindsight, it almost seems more incredible than it did at the time. He would go on to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, as well be selected to first-team All-Pro and the Pro Bowl. It would be the first of a seven consecutive Pro Bowl selections and the first of a five consecutive first-team All-Pro.
For some visual evidence, here are some of the best of the clips from Dylan DeSimone’s thread — DeSimone strung together over 25 videos from Willis’ playing days, as part of tribute to the former San Francisco great. It was a masterful job by DeSimone, and I thought it best to highlight his work, as it displayed just how much of a dominating force Willis truly was.