Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa, Fred Warner and more. The 49ers are a team full of star power, but there's a name missing from that list who might be the most important and the best of the bunch.
Trent Williams, 33, is in the 11th season of his NFL career. The numbers say that 2021 has been his best act yet, and he agrees.
"I think that's probably accurate," Williams said Tuesday to reporters. "As a football player, as a competitor, you want to be better than the last year. I think that's my goal, it always has been my goal. If this year is better than last year, I hope so and that's the plan."
Williams again imposed his will Sunday in the 49ers' 31-13 win against the Atlanta Falcons. He's more than brute strength, though. The 320-pound left tackle is the ultimate weapon across the offensive line for his size, speed and smarts.
In his second season in San Francisco, he feels all those facets of his game have improved.
"I do feel more comfortable than I've ever felt," Williams said. "I do feel like I'm the strongest I've ever been. I do feel like I'm as -- for lack of a better word -- smart, I guess you would say, football-wise. My football IQ is probably better than it's ever been."
Williams has played 816 snaps over 13 games this season. He has allowed just one sack and has been responsible for only five penalties. His 98.5 Pro Football Focus grade doesn't make him the best at his position, it makes him the highest-graded player in the entire NFL.
And still, he probably doesn't get enough respect.
For a long time, Williams' name wasn't close to the top of his position when it came to fan voting for the Pro Bowl. Going into Sunday's game against the Falcons, he was eighth among left tackles in fan votes. Unprompted, George Kittle expressed his frustrations with that last Thursday. Offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel echoed Kittle, too.
On Monday, the final tally of fan votes was announced and Williams led his position group.
"Just going to the support that I get from the locker room, it's unreal," Williams said. "It definitely takes me back a little bit to have people that would stand on the table and argue on my behalf. I've always felt I was the best in the game, but I'm not very boisterous. I don't brag, it's just not my type. I know some of my teammates want me to kind of put it in people's face and be a little bit more talkative about it. Me personally, it's just not me.
"But to see my teammates and guys I go to war with, guys I look at as family, as brothers, for them to take their time when they can be promoting their self and throw me in the mix and bring awareness to me -- it's heartwarming. It goes to show you why this team can overcome adversity, because we're so close. It's such a close-knit group."
Though he hasn't yet, Williams said he plans to pull Kittle aside to personally thank him. He called Kittle an "unbelievable teammate" for the way he has treated him, Jimmy Garoppolo and so many other 49ers.
For now, Williams will repay the both of them with more pancake blocks, starting Thursday against the Tennessee Titans.