No. 2: 49ers Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair
It’s easy to point out plenty of the 49ers’ star players when looking at the biggest standouts on both sides of the ball. And when looking at the Niners’ crop of linebackers, one would probably suggest either Fred Warner or Dre Greenlaw would be making the biggest plays.
Warner managed a pick-six touchdown late in the first half, so he does deserve a lot of credit.
Yet one could make the argument backup linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair was actually San Francisco’s best intermediate defender against Detroit.
Al-Shaair was regularly all over the field, providing quality coverage options and also working well to limit whatever run damage the Lions were trying to engineer. He also broke up two passes and registered two tackles for a loss, too.
All told, Al-Shaair finished the game with seven tackles, but his presence was surely felt in more ways than just the stat line.
While Warner and Greenlaw will continue receiving the bulk of attention at this position, it’s looking like Al-Shaair is working towards being a high-quality backup player who can assume a bigger role if need be.