49ers Trent Williams could excel as a two-way player, says Kyle Shanahan

The “overwhelming” news that Joe Staley was forced to retire quickly became the best scenario this offseason for coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers.

If the 49ers were to lose their popular All-Decade left tackle due to health issues, it couldn’t have worked better than the scenario that unfolded. The 49ers acquired Pro Bowl left tackle seven times Trent Williams in a Washington draft day trade for a fifth-round pick this year and a third-round pick in 2021.

“When a guy like Trent can be randomly available like that, that was the first draft pick we made when we were in Washington, and to be with Trent as a rookie, he was as talented as any other player we’ve ever been with, Shanahan said during the State of the 49ers Franchise virtual event at 49ers.com.


Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Washington under his father Mike in 2010 when the organization selected Williams with the No. 4 overall pick.

Williams, who turns 32 on July 19, is on the 6-foot-5-pound list and weighs 320 pounds, and has such an athletic talent that Shanahan said he thinks he is capable of playing defensive tackle, as well as almost any position on a basketball. Cut.

“He is a guy who I really think can play three techniques in this league if he wanted to,” Shanahan said. “If he goes to the basketball court, he will play as a point guard, just as he can play in the center. He’s that kind of athlete. “

Throughout his NFL coaching career, Shanahan has been with some of the game’s best left tackles, including Joe Thomas (Cleveland), Duane Brown (Houston), along with Staley and, now, Williams for the second time.

“I’ve been with some very good ones, and losing one like Joe was overwhelming,” Shanahan said. “I had to do it. It wasn’t something I really could have a lot of options with. It was the right decision for him and his family. But he is a player who is very difficult to replace. “

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Staley also had unique athletic gifts. Staley finished sixth in the 200-meter run in the state of Michigan as a high school senior. He earned a scholarship to Central Michigan as a tight end.

The 49ers’ complex offense places a lot of emphasis on the athleticism of the offensive linemen to execute their assignments on plays from runs outside the zone.

“As long as you can deal with O-linemen like that, who have that kind of athletic ability and some size, it’s a huge advantage in our game,” Shanahan said.