SANTA CLARA – Left tackle Trent Williams was selected to the Pro Bowl in eight of his first 10 NFL seasons.
There was no bigger snub from the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 2010s than Williams, who played his first nine seasons with Washington.
At 33, Williams is playing at his highest level since entering the NFL in 2010 as the No. 4 overall draft pick from Oklahoma.
At least that's the opinion of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, a man who knows him very well.
“Everyone knows how talented Trent is, and the way he plays, he enjoys playing,” Shanahan said. “And he's been playing at an extremely high level this year. I would say it's probably the best year that Trent’s had just up to now.”
Of course, the 49ers expected Williams to be among the best offensive tackles in the league. It is why the organization signed him to a six-year, $138 million contract shortly after the beginning of free agency.
Williams has not lost any athleticism and he is stronger now than he was during his early years in the NFL.
Shanahan was Washington’s offensive coordinator when Williams entered the NFL, so he has watched him up close for a long time.
Shanahan was asked whether he is surprised at how Williams’ game has seemingly only gotten better with age.
“No,” he answered, “because we see him in practice. You look at his age, he's still to me the most talented guy. I don't see many people more talented than him. So usually when, as you get older in age, the talent goes and you still can execute a level with wisdom and experience.
“But I see the same talent and I think he's got a lot more wisdom and experience.”
The numbers seem to support Shanahan’s assertion.
Williams’ overall grade is the highest of his career, according to Pro Football Focus. He has a near-perfect grade as a run-blocker and has surrendered just one sack this season.