Heading into the San Francisco 49ers’ final game of the season, the team currently holds pick No. 2 in the 2019 NFL Draft. A loss, coupled with other reasonable results, will give the opportunity to pick defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, the blue-chip prospect from Alabama, even if he doesn’t fill a direct need.
As the San Francisco 49ers close out the season against the arch-nemesis Los Angeles Rams, the question is what will happen to the team’s top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Currently, it’s at No. 2 overall. But that could change depending on Week 17’s results across the league.
In theory, the Niners could make their selection from anywhere between pick Nos. 1 and 5, according to Adam Stiles on Twitter:
Pick No. 1 is possible but probably out of the question, as the Arizona Cardinals are heavy road underdogs to a Seattle Seahawks team that won’t be resting their starters in Week 17.
In San Francisco’s case, the Rams won’t be resting their starters, unlike last season’s Week 17 matchup either, as a Rams loss coupled with a Chicago Bears victory loses them the second seed in the NFC playoff picture.
Complicating matters are the New York Jets. In theory they could leapfrog the 49ers due to the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker. To avoid this, the Niners must have some games swing their way.
Most likely, the 49ers will pick at No. 2, possibly at No. 3. For the purposes of this article, we’re assuming the Niners clinch the second overall pick and the Cardinals decide to take Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa with pick No. 1.
Which leads us to the article, advocating for Alabama’s monster defensive tackle, Quinnen Williams.
The case for Quinnen Williams
Bosa and Williams are by far the best prospects in this draft class. Not the only good choices for the 49ers, to be clear, but by far the blue chippers of this class. Bosa is an easier sell to San Francisco, as he fills that edge pass-rushing option it sorely lacks.
Williams is a harder sell because, even though he is a complete package as a man who can get to the quarterback, the Niners are seemingly settled at defensive tackle between DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas.
Thomas has been much improved since moving inside on the 49ers defensive line.
But there’s one reason why Williams is an obvious choice, and that’s just how he is a monster interior rusher. I generally hate to make comparisons, but imagine the Rams’ Aaron Donald next to Buckner and tell me that it doesn’t make your mouth water.
The 49ers are lacking a consistent player to rush the passer outside of Buckner. Pairing Williams with Buckner would give the defense the potential to dominate interior offensive lines for the next decade. It’s much easier to disrupt the rhythm of a quarterback by disrupting the interior early, and this would bring relief to a Niners secondary that has been under pressure a lot this season due to the relative lack of pressure put on the quarterback.
There would be advocates that would suggest taking EDGE Josh Allen from Kentucky here, and if the 49ers go for need over talent, that would be a fine choice.
However, I am strongly in favor of taking the best player available this highly in a draft. Allen, who is undoubtedly very talented and will make a fine pro in my opinion, is simply not on the Bosa/Williams level.
Williams ticks a lot of the boxes that the Niners need. He’s a monster who can get into the backfield, he rushes the passer extremely well, he would ease pressure on the besieged secondary and he’s one of the two players in the draft you would want to take No. 1 overall.
His only crime is he plays on the inside of the defensive line, not the outside.
Should that stop the 49ers making use of his incredible talent? Couldn’t the 49ers find a defensive package that allows full use of him and Buckner wrecking the interior, while also continuing the development of Thomas?
You be the judge.