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ILB Patrick Willis - San Francisco 49ers

6-1, 235Born: 1-25-1985College: MississippiDrafted: Round 1, pick 11

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Summary

Willis is still playing at an extremely high level, making the Pro Bowl every year of his seven season career starting in 2007 (his consecutive All-Pro streak was snapped at six last year), though he has had a decline in solo tackle production, which can be traced to three seasons ago. Looking at that declining trend line, starting as a rookie, Willis had 135-109-114-101 in his first four seasons, than 74-88-82 in the last three seasons. Part of that may be explained by injury, with only one missed game in his first four seasons, than five in his last three seasons (with three missed games in 2011 and two more in 2013). But a better explanation might be the presence of Navorro Bowman, without question one of the top open field tacklers in the NFL (with Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly). Probably not coincidentally, three years ago in 2011 was when he took over the starting ILB job next to Willis. In those three seasons, Bowman has put up the kind of prolific solo tackle numbers Willis used to (111-96-120). But still rehabbing a torn ACL suffered during the NFC Championship game, he may not be back until midway through the season, with no guarantee he will be his usual self less than 10 months removed from the injury. So the laboratory of the 2013 season could be an experiment to see if solo tackle numbers spike for Willis in the absence of Bowman for half the season (and possibly not at full strength for the entire year). It should be noted that Willis remains a playmaker, with 3 sacks and 2 FFs in 2013. (May 26)

FBG Staff Rankings

ILB Redraft - 5, 6, 8
Overall Redraft - 7, 8, 10
ILB Dynasty - 11, 10, 12
Overall Dynasty - 15, 15, 19

Stats and Projections

YEARGTKLASTSCKFFFRINTPDTD
2011 SF 13 74 23 2 4 2 1 12 0
2012 SF 16 88 32 0.5 2 1 2 9 0
2013 SF 14 82 22 3 2 0 0 1 0
2014 PROJ-Rudnicki 16 94 * * * * * * *
2014 PROJ-Norton 16 96 * * * * * * *

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