NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- General manager John Lynch spent a portion of his pre-draft session with the media on Monday raving about Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.
On Wednesday, Williams returned the favor.
“They left a great impression on me, just to meet those guys out there,” said Williams, whom the 49ers hosted on a top-30 visit this month. “I met John Lynch. He’s a great guy.”
Williams is a legitimate option for the 49ers to consider with the No. 2 overall pick. Williams’ name has also come up in speculation over the past week that the Arizona Cardinals could select him with the top pick. Assuming the Arizona Cardinals take Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the top selection, the 49ers' pick would likely come down to Williams or Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa.
Williams was a first-year starter at nose tackle for Alabama, and he quickly shot up draft boards with a season in which he registered 19.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks.
“The season he had may have been as good of a college football season that I’ve ever seen,” Lynch said. “He was just dominant.”
As Williams began to talk about Lynch, he laughed about a highlight he saw of him during a TV show about Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders. Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowl player during his 15-year career with Tampa Bay and Denver.
“I saw him juke John Lynch,” Williams said of Sanders. “It was so funny because I know John Lynch now.”
If Williams were to end up with the 49ers, he would likely team up on the interior defensive line with DeForest Buckner. Williams said he met Buckner during his visit to Santa Clara. His takeaway: “He’s huge.”
Williams said he would relish the opportunity to play alongside one of the best defensive tackles in the game. Buckner was named to his first NFC Pro Bowl team after totaling a career-high 12 sacks.
“I’m not going to any franchise thinking I’m the man, thinking this or that,” Williams said. “I’m thinking that I’m coming to any franchise and I’m bringing a weapon that can help the team and push the pocket. This game has turned to a real passing game and me, as a defensive lineman, I’m a pass-rusher. I go get it. But I can also stop the run at an elite level.”
Another player the 49ers could consider with the No. 2 pick in the draft is Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen, who led the nation with 17 sacks last season as a senior. Allen mentioned the weather and the food as some of the highlights of his visit to meet with the 49ers in Santa Clara.
Allen came away feeling good about the possibility of playing for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and new defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. Allen said the 49ers told him he would play defensive end in their defensive scheme.
“My hand would be in the dirt, rushing the passer and setting the edge,” he said.