patrick willis can do it all. tackle, disrupt the run, and cover. he's an absolute terror with incredible range, but he does not seem to display nor possess the same tenacity and aggression as navorro bowman. previously i had the stalwarts on the 49ers defense ranked: 1A patrick willis 1B Justin Smith 1C Aldon Smith but after this season and most notably the post-season, bowman is by and large the best player on this defense. he is a class-act, a truly unfathomed warrior. i hate to see an image like this:
teams cannot run on the 49ers period. yes, you will have your occasional back breakout after having exposed the D to a long drive (what defense wouldn't), but you can bank the under on any opposing backs total and expect to cash that ticket. while this is a result of a concerted effort, bowman clearly leads the pack in serving as a given plays decisive disrupting force.
he plays with a fervor willis use to display. for some unknown reason, willis has become complacent. he does just enough to get the job done, but does not go above and beyond; at least consistently enough (something an ALL-PRO future hall of famer should be doing at all times).
as daunting as this may sound, the niners might be better served moving willis. this is merely a hypothetical suggestion.
opponents can only beat the 49ers through the air and the 49ers know this. Its difficult having both willis and bowman out on the field at the same time especially when the opposing offense plays 4 wide outs. unfortunately, you just cannot take either one off the field. It is for this reason, that the 49ers need to pursue darrelle revis this offseason - especially if he is made fully available by the jets. you dont want the contract? you don't want to win the superbowl. The 49ers should at no point, consider drafting a corner within the first 3 rounds of this years draft. this team is undoubtedly built to win NOW and no rookie corner will elevate the position to where it needs to be.
while the ideal scenario would center around trading alex smith and possibly a high to mid-round pick for revis, a maneuver like that is unlikely to happen as the jets know that the 49ers have to not only move smith via either trade/release, but will probably give him some say as to where that will be. Given the opportunity, I would deal anyone on the def aside from aldon smith and bowman for revis in a marquee for marquee player swap in the mold of champ bailey for clinton portis. a situation that may not be as outlandish as it may appear.