No. 3: SF 49ers Defensive Tackle Kevin Givens
A year after seeing only a handful of defensive snaps, second-year defensive tackle Kevin Givens has suddenly seen his role increase to one of extreme importance for San Francisco.
The former undrafted free agent has not only found himself a serviceable backup to nose tackle D.J. Jones, but with the season-ending injury to Solomon Thomas, Givens now has ended up taking a lot more defensive snaps: 104 in total, which is nearly 40 percent of the team total through four weeks.
While the traditional stats haven’t been overly impressive — four tackles, including one for a loss — Givens’ overall impact on the field has been notable enough.
Pro Football Focus has awarded Givens with a highly respectable 75.7 overall grade, and he’s also posted a run-stopping grade of 71.9 with a pass-rush grade of 73.3.
Those are awfully good for a less-heralded backup who many thought would be on the fringes of even making the 53-man roster by Week 1.
San Francisco’s defensive line has taken huge hits this season, yet Givens has made those losses a little more bearable.