The 49ers' defensive line is the strength of the team. Not just for the chaos it creates, but also for the players it helps attract.
Last season, San Francisco allowed the fewest passing yards per game (169.2) and tied for the fifth-most sacks (48) in the NFL. Anyone who watched the 49ers' defensive line quickly realized it was one of the elite units in the league.
That included new 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams, who sat out all of last season amid a dispute with Washington. That gave Williams plenty of time to study up on the top D-lines in the league, which ultimately influenced which teams he would be open to joining. After so much time away from game action, he knew he needed to go up against the best of the best.
"Oh man, I'm looking forward to it," Williams told NFL Media's Ian Rapoport on the "RapSheet and Friends" podcast. "When I looked for a team to go to, I looked at the opposite side of the ball to see who can I sharpen my iron on every day in practice because when I get out there on the field, I can't come up with a rust excuse. All that to me doesn't exist. So, I would rather be rusty in practice and be able to sharpen my iron then than to try to do it Monday night with all the cameras on me.
" ... The defense is probably the best in the league. When you think about defensive lines that get after the quarterback, I think anybody with a pulse is going to throw the 49ers' front out there within the first, second or third groups to mention. So, that in itself excites me as a competitor, because I know I can get some of the best work done during the week. On Sundays, you're not going to see too many guys better than that group. Especially not any individuals that much better than [Nick] Bosa. I think they just don't have that many guys in the league that are better than him. So, I think for me, it's going to do everything for me to get me back to where I know I can be at."
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When the 49ers' top offensive and defensive units go up against each other in practice, the expectation is that Williams and Bosa will be matched up head-to-head. That should make for quite the individual battle, and likely will only serve to make each player better.
Given that one has made the Pro Bowl seven times and the other is the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, that should be a terrifying thought for most other linemen in the league -- on both sides of the ball.
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