Sakamoto: 3 Reasons Why 49ers’ Must Re-Sign NT Ian Williams

USA Today Sports

USA Today Sports

The San Francisco 49ers need all the help they can get from a leadership standpoint, as they lost the heart and soul of the team’s defense in ILB Patrick Willis this past off-season.

A huge blow to the team as the defense also lost DE Justin Smith in the process, the 49ers need to muster up leaders on the defensive side of the ball and re-signing team captain NT Ian Williams would be a good starting point in making that happen.

A player who is heavily respected inside the locker room, Williams continues to shine despite coming from humble beginnings. Originally an undrafted rookie free-agent in 2011 as Williams had red flags coming out of college due to durability concerns (MCL sprain), he has since been a key clog at nose tackle for the red and gold.

“He’s a really good role model for the young defensive lineman and he’s a great story, ” 49ers DC Eric Mangini told me in his presser today.

Aside from Williams’ leadership, it’s his work ethic that has Mangini excited. I asked Mangini about his thoughts on his underrated nose-tackle and Mangini had nothing but rave reviews for him. “Ian’s outstanding. You can always appreciate great work ethic and that’s one of his greatest characteristics, greatest assets. He’s always steady, very consistent, very coachable.”

I then asked for a comparison between five-time Pro Bowl NT Vince Wilfork and Williams as the latter is 20 pounds lighter.

“God, I love Vince, yep! Him and Vince are a very different package but Ian has the advantage of being very explosive off the line of scrimmage. He plays with a low center of gravity and he’s a very good technician. So with that type of leverage that type of explosion, even when guys that are bigger than you, you can get underneath their pads.”

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Explosive, coachable, and fundamentally sound? Sounds like a player the team should lock up sooner rather than later. But don’t think that Williams will come at a bargain as his agent is Drew Rosenhaus.

Through 13 games this season, Williams has recorded 52 tackles and one forced fumble despite commanding double-teams on the daily.

With the 49ers trying to rebuild their roster from the ground up, keeping Williams in San Francisco would be a wise investment as his leadership, worth ethic, and production speaks for itself.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.