5 dark-horse 49ers who could slip into Pro Bowl voting in 2022

Laken Tomlinson #75 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Laken Tomlinson #75 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
3 of 5
Azeez Al-Shaair, San Francisco 49ers
Azeez Al-Shaair #51 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

49ers Dark-Horse Pro Bowler No. 3: Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair

The 49ers’ best linebacker on the roster remains 2020 first-team All-Pro Fred Warner.

And while Warner might be having slightly less impressive a season in 2021 than he did a year ago, it still wouldn’t be shocking to see him get in as a Pro Bowler for early February.

Yet the bigger dark-horse candidate, and someone who needs to receive at least a little recognition, is fellow backer Azeez Al-Shaair, the third-year pro who suddenly found himself thrust into a starting role in the wake of linebacker Dre Greenlaw’s nearly year-long groin injury.

Al-Shaair hasn’t disappointed. At all. In fact, he’s been outstanding in a role no one saw him seizing.

The former undrafted free agent is only three tackles behind Warner’s team lead of 99, yet Al-Shaair also has added a whopping nine tackles for a loss, best at his position on the team there, five passes broken up, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and 1.5 sacks.

Again, this might not be enough to catch the eye of the non-Niners casual fan, but Al-Shaair’s all-around quality play needs to deserve some attention.

Potentially en route to a Pro Bowl nod.