• Robert Moore

In The Slot: K'Waun Williams and Stepping into Leadership Role in Secondary

Image Credit: USA TODAY Sports


The shark.

A dominant predator of the ocean.

That is the nickname that Kyle Shanahan gave to K'Waun Williams. His teammates have runwith the nickname and Williams has embraced it. Over the past few years, Williams has established himself as a well-respected member of the 49ers and his current and former teammates think very highly of him.

One of the more understated story lines of the offseason is that the team will have an absence of leadership in the secondary with the loss of Richard Sherman, an obvious leader on this team for the last few years. Someone in the secondary will need to help fill the void and Williams added in his interview that he hopes to grow into a leadership role with the team. He already has the respect of his teammates, but he has an opportunity to become a more vocal leader. With the 49ers likely to draft some cornerbacks this year, Williams will have a big opportunity to fill the void and be a great mentor.

New defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans will attempt to fill the shoes of Robert Saleh, who departed to become the head coach of the New York Jets. The 49ers have done a good job with re-signing some key players to help Ryans. Williams can play a big role in helping his first-year defensive coordinator. Some analysts have indicated they expect to see more blitz packages under Ryans as the DC. When healthy, K'waun has been as solid as they come, locking down defenders and providing some sneaky good blitz packages.

In a recent interview, which is linked below, Williams references that he is ready to help the team in any way that Ryans asks. He described his new defensive coordinator as a high-energy guy who demands a lot from his players. Ryans will be happy to get Williams back as he is a willing defender in the run game and pass game and will look to continue to make impact plays.

The constant offseason storyline has been who will the 49ers quarterback be? An important question that should be asked more often is will the defense continue its high level of play this coming season, or will they regress with the losses of Saleh and Sherman? There will be a lot of pressure on Williams, the secondary and Ryans to perform. Let's see if they are up to the task.


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